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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Senator Mark Begich Fights for Flight

Alaska is different. It’s said a lot, and it’s true. Things that work in the contiguous 48 states don’t necessarily work here. The lack of understanding by those “Outside” of this phenomenon contributes to Alaskans’ slightly xenophobic, and more than slight libertarian bent. “Get off my tundra, you meddlesome kids.”

Nothing defines Alaska quite so much as the gigantic size and small population. We are far flung, and disconnected. When 1500 miles separates two towns, it’s hard to remember you’re supposed to be in the same state. Alaska is larger than many countries, and pretty darn empty when it comes to people.

Because of this peculiarity, and the fact that Alaska is a relatively young state (Anchorage was a tent city back in the 1940s) we tend to be a little lacking in the infrastructure department. Roads through hundreds or thousands of miles of wilderness, for almost non-existent traffic are certainly not cost-efficient. So, we do have a road “system” but it’s pretty limited. Boats and bush planes will get you to everywhere roads will not.

~Heading out with friends for a camping trip in 1995. Small planes will get you to some interesting places.

As a result of this, Alaska has a lot of recreational pilots and a lot of small planes. People in tiny communities off the road system rely on regular flights in and out for basic services more than anywhere else in the country. No planes means no mail, no supplies, no transportation to visit relatives, or get to a larger town to shop, or get medical help when you or your family needs it. It’s the difference between a connection to the outside world, and a completely isolated existence akin to living on a deserted island.

So, it was particularly alarming to hear of an amendment to Senate bill by a Senator who seems to be making a career out of misunderstanding Alaskan things. His first misunderstanding is now blathering away on Fox News. And now this.

House Republicans, eager to show how fiscally watchdoggy they are, passed a bill to eliminate Essential Air Services (EAS) from all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The program subsidizes air travel to rural communities who otherwise would not be able to sustain it. The bill passed.

But now, it faces a Senate vote which would eliminate the program entirely – Alaska included. As you can imagine this has caused a bit of a furor with the Alaska congressional delegation. Don Young already spoke up in the House for exempting Alaska, and both Senators Murkowski and Begich have advocated for continuing the program in-state as well.

Opposition to keeping the program comes from the organization “Citizens Against Government Waste” who apparently doesn’t think broadly enough to encompass Alaska.

The decision to do away with the program should be an easy one when so many other tough budget decisions must be made, [Tim] Schatz, [President of Citizens Against Government Waste] said.

“Frankly, we consider the EAS low-hanging fruit, something all members of Congress should oppose if they do not wish to leave future generations under a mountain of debt,” he said. “If Congress balks at cutting programs that overreach their objectives and waste taxpayer dollars as flagrantly as the EAS, hope for a long-term cultural shift is dubious.”

One man’s food supply, and access to medical care is another man’s “waste,” apparently.  Let me pluck a piece of low hanging fruit here, and say that Mr. Schatz is a narrow-minded ideologue who cannot think past the borders of his own pile of interconnected states, and remember that there’s a little square off the coast of southern California called “Alaska” that is actually also a state. In this country. With people in it.
Fortunately our congressional delegation is on the ball and being a giant squeaking wheel on this wagon. Mark Begich took the floor of the Senate yesterday to make a statement, and educate his colleagues, including Senator McCain, about a state that could reach coast to coast on a map of the Lower 48, but still remains a mystery to those making day-to-day decisions and votes regarding federal programs that affect all the states. I hear there’s even a new one now… some group of islands about 5 hours south of Anchorage. I’ll have to look into it.
Here is Senator Mark Begich’s floor speech on ESA, complete with cool map.
******************************

This bill is especially important for states like mine. Aviation is the lifeblood of Alaska. It’s truly our highway in the sky. We have six times more pilots and sixteen times more planes per capita than the rest of the country. In Alaska the small plane is the equivalent of a minivan in the Lower 48. They’re how Alaskans get around. I’d like to talk briefly about an essential air service program which is vital to my constituents.

~Friend from Arizona

My friend from Arizona has introduced an amendment which would repeal the essential air services program, and I truly have grave concerns for what this would mean, not only for rural Alaskans, but for rural Americans as a whole. The essential air service program originated at the same time as airline deregulation in 1978.

When airline deregulation passed, it gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. This is not a bad thing. Some good things came out of airline deregulation. It fostered competition among airlines. It brought down ticket prices for many air routes between large urban centers. But when congress passed airline deregulation, it also recognized that something needed to be done to protect rural communities. They weren’t the most profitable routes for air carriers so the idea was to maintain a minimum level of service. That is where the Essential Air Service program came from. The program provided modest subsidies to air carriers to provide service to communities that would otherwise have lost all air service through deregulation.

Since 1978, the Essential Air Service Program has successfully guaranteed small communities that were served by certified air carriers before deregulation would maintain a minimum level of scheduled air service. The program has been a vital link for rural America. There are very real consequences to eliminating this program to my constituents, especially in the 44 communities served by the EAS program.


Let me show you this poster. This poster shows Alaska’s limited road infrastructure. 82% of Alaska communities are not on the road system and rely on aviation as a primary means of transportation for goods, people, mail… it all has to come by aircraft. And let me not confuse those who are watching. We did not oversize the state of Alaska. Alaska doesn’t sit down here by California, or in a little box somewhere. This is actually the size of Alaska in comparison to the Lower 48. The red lines show the road network. Now you can imagine the road network that would be shown in the Lower 48, but this is the only road network we have. So, for the rest of the state it is by air or by boat. People in these communities face some of the highest cost of living in the country.

Rural Alaskans can’t drive to a Safeway when they need something. There are no roads, and there are no Safeways. If you eliminate the EAS program it is going to drive these prices even higher in rural Alaska.

~The Village of Kake. No it’s not something from the Nutcracker, it’s a rural community that has a lot to lose.

Gary Williams from the village of Kake sent me a letter about what the McCain amendment would mean for his community. By the way, the EAS assures that Kake receives at least three weekly flights from a small Cessna 208 aircraft during the winter. Again, this is not a jetliner. Maybe in Alaska we think a Cessna 208 is a jetliner… but that’s a very small plane. Gary Williams in Kake says, “I frankly can’t imagine being without service. It would isolate and cripple us on many levels.”

In addition to eliminating the only source of transportation for many communities, Senator McCain’s amendment would actually put people out of work. It would hurt small businesses in Alaska and across this country. It is truly a job killing amendment.

Mr. President, I’d like to read a letter my office received from the owner of Pen Air. Pen Air is a family owned business, started in 1955 by a young nineteen-year old named Orin Seybert. When Orin started his business in 1955, he had a two-seat Taylorcraft and a four-seat Piper tri-pacer. Orin is a great example of the pioneering spirit that embodies Alaska. Over the years, Orin grew the business into a successful regional air carrier, serving communities throughout rural Alaska. Pen Air is now run by Orin’s son Danny. This is a letter from Danny Seybert, the President of Pen Air.

“For many of these communities Pen Air is the only scheduled passenger air service link to the rest of the world.” He goes on to say if the McCain amendment is passed, “It would have a devastating effect on many remote communities in Alaska, on many air carriers that provide those communities with the air transportation services, and on Alaska’s economy.”

~The Grand Caravan accommodates up to nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo

Here’s an email my office received from the Copper Valley Air Service. Copper Valley flies two EAS routes serving the communities of McCarthy and May Creek. The email reads  “If this amendment is approved it will put Copper Valley Air Service out of business. It will cost eight jobs. This cannot pass.”

This is an email from Bruce Phillips, the chief pilot of Wings of Alaska. Repealing EAS would “not only diminish jobs and raise costs, but also potentially abolish air service to some communities entirely. Villages in Southeast Alaska have no roads, and limited if any ferry service making air service a lifeline. This is how they receive everything from medication to mail, to groceries, as well as how they travel for medical, personal and business.”

I’ve got a stack of these letters that my office has received in the past few days from communities that would lose air service if the McCain amendment is adopted. From individuals in the communities who are terrified about what this would mean for the price of goods in their community. From those worried about the cost of air travel if they should get sick and need to seek medical attention at a hospital; and from small air carriers worried that they will either have to lay off employees, or go under altogether.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that all these letters would be entered in to the record.

It’s easy to call this wasteful if you don’t understand the needs of rural communities. They don’t have any other means of transportation. When he introduced the amendment, my friend from Arizona suggested that folks are bypassing Essential Air Service flights to drive to a hub, and a hub airport where they can get cheaper fares to more destinations. Consider how that applies in my state. For the community of Adak in the Aleutian Islands, the connection to the nearest medium hub is Anchorage.  I laughed a little bit, because I want to put this truly in perspective.  It’s almost 1200 miles… so if you want to (as Senator McCain says) “drive to the hub” you can’t do that because you’re here. (points to Adak).

In order to get to here (points to Anchorage) you have to go by air, or catch a boat – assuming the weather’s good.  So his analysis that people are just driving off to these hubs, and catching flights that are cheaper is inaccurate, and he’s unfamiliar obviously with what’s going on in Alaska.

To put the number in perspective it’s about the same distance from Los Angeles to Houston, except unlike Los Angeles and Houston, there are no roads between these two places. I agree with Senator McCain that we need to do something to address this nation’s budget deficit, (snip) but I don’t believe you should balance the budget on the backs of communities and people facing some of the highest costs of living, in the toughest conditions in this country, and that is exactly what the McCain amendment would do.

When Senator McCain introduced this amendment, he cited a July 2009 GAO Report, suggesting that the EAS has outlived its usefulness. I’ve got that very same report, and (snip) I’m just going to go to page 2 of this report. This is from the GAO. This is what they said:

“Our review focused on communities in the continental United States (what we like to refer to as the Lower 48) that have received EAS subsidized service. We focused our review on these communities because the requirements for communities in Alaska are different than communities in other states, and the airports outside the contiguous states are not representative of the programs in the rest of the country.”

I can’t speak for Senator McCain’s constituents or communities in Arizona that receive Essential Air Service. Maybe the folks of Kingman and Page, and Prescott and Show Low, that receive EAS don’t think it’s necessary. I’m not sure if Senator McCain has checked with them but maybe that’s how they feel. But, I can speak for the rural Alaskans who have contacted my office – who are terrified about this amendment and what it would mean for their community, for their way of life, for their very health and well-being, and for their families.

We are in the midst of a recovery from an economic collapse. Mr. President, it makes no sense to eliminate a valuable program that helps rural America, and puts small business to work. This amendment would take us in the wrong direction. I strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

***************************

Alaskans will be alert to the Senate vote that is supposed to happen today to see if McCain will get his way and eradicate the program entirely, even in Alaska where 44 communities may be about to lose their air service.

Comments

comments

Comments
106 Responses to “Senator Mark Begich Fights for Flight”
  1. Casandra says:

    Please understand something-McCain’s budget cutting has nothing to do with people’s needs. He doesn’t even think about people. He just works his budget cutting scissors because it is his brand. McCain has done this ever since he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar in the Keating Scandal.

    If it isn’t refusing to address clean water for people in AZ, it’s cutting funds to Walter Reed Army Hospital for active duty military injured. He was ranking member of Armed Services Committee–
    yet he cut off funds until the facility became decrepid, mold running down the walls. That condition was caught on TV and McCain had to publicly apologize. He just cuts people off-he cuts everybody off. I hope Sen. Begich can triumph over his callousness, and our Congress act like we the people make up this nation.

  2. Waay Out West says:

    What will Alaska’s economy be based on when the oil reserves run out? I know there was a revision of reserves last fall that believes there is far more gas than oil.

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/27/alaskas-untapped-oil-reserves-estimate-lowered-90-percent/

  3. Thank you all….you are a good part of my day….!

  4. Nick says:

    I consider myself a progressive (volunteered many hours for the Obama campaign, etc), but I do have a problem with Alaskans poor mouthing about this issue. We have one of the few states with a budget surplus, yet we get far more from the federal government than we contribute in taxes. We have a reverse state income tax, for Christ’s sake.

    Why can’t the state cover the modest cost of this program in Alaska? Just when do we stop being a ‘young’ state?

    (…and why are we cutting education spending?–but don’t get me started…)

    • StElias says:

      We continually hear that Alaska gets something like six federal dollars for every one its residents pay in. Probably true. Makes some choke up over the extent we are ripping off our brethren. I have a little different take on it though. Indulge me.

      For instance and among other holdings, the federal government owns about 65% of the prime acreage in Alaska. Much of it in conservation status. ANILCA alone placed almost a third of Alaska’s 365 million acres into protective custody, which doubled the nation’s parks and refuges. In addition, the federal government owns and operates four major military bases here. There are other things too, navigation aids operated by the U.S. for air transports flying over Alaska going to and coming from the four corners of the earth. The list goes on and on.

      Now, in order to care for and operate all these federal lands and facilities, money has to be spent. Why then are these expenditures factored into the equation which is bandied about as evidence that on a per capita basis Alaskan’s get much more than their fair share?

      I suggest, that all U.S. taxpayers, as owners of this federal stuff, are obligated to fund it. Not Alaskan’s.

      But, if those expenditures continue to be a source of heartburn for the lower 49. Then give us ownership to the 65% federal land up here. After all, they want it in order to provide a great big zoo for their enjoyment, but bellyache when called to pay for their infrastructure assets, should make em happy, no? And, the military bases? If they don’t consider Alaska a first line of defense for the lower 48 anymore, well, shut em down, give us that property as well.

      • Nick says:

        As a former resident of California, where I paid state income tax up to 10% on top of federal income tax, sales tax of over 8.5%, property tax, car tax etc. etc. I think Alaskans are naive when it comes to paying for government. Alaska’s state budget is paid by oil revenues. Instead of residents paying for state government, Alaska pays residents an annual residency bonus. How libertarian and ‘rugged individualist’ is that? Why can’t Alaska use some of its excess wealth to subsidize this air service, instead of asking the other 49 states to pay for it? If Alaska is a state of the Union, start acting like it. By that I mean, build state programs to benefit the citizens of the state and don’t expect so much from Uncle Sam. Just saying.

        • StElias says:

          Hey California,

          Here is a naive Alaskan just saying, that “I’m just saying too”. Things were okay up here before big oil. Like the folks in Washington State say, the San Juan Islands were great too until the rich Californians bought it out and moved in.

          It is more than okay with me, if the Texans, Oklahomans and yes, the Californians, go back to where they came from.

          Yes, our oil, if any left, will be much better off left in the ground awaiting more responsible future generations.

          Like I said: Take your military bases back, all your damn money, your oil magnates too. Give us the land you got your greedy hands on by cheating on the Statehood Act. Things were okay for us before you all showed.

          As far as joining up with another nation for protection, hey, Yukon West has a nice ring to it, a lot better than Texas North, as it is today.

          As far as developing natural resources responsibly, The Sultan of Oman will be glad to contract with us in that regard, on our terms.

          I say, get the hell out. I am not asking for one damn dime from you Californians. I was doing just fine before our air was fouled.

          Signed–A stupid naive Aalskan.

          • Nick says:

            Alaska is a wonderful, magical place. It just isn’t much of a State, in my view–more of a combination colony and company town. I’d be happy if there were no oil up here, and the oil companies had not had their way with the culture and state government. However, that’s water under the bridge–you have to start from where you are. I’ve been here going on six years now, and my view is that Alaska needs to find a way to use it’s wealth for the benefit of its citizens, to expand its economy beyond tourism and resource extraction. Don’t go begging to Washington–let’s build the state using our own resources. And by that I don’t mean cutting deals with BP and Exxon, etc.

  5. bb says:

    Excuse me did McCain drive up there to get Palin to run with him?

  6. M. Paul says:

    Hmmm. I hope everyone who has a dog in this sled race spent/spends a little time mushing around in the link Mike posted above:
    http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/x-50%20role_files/essentialairservice.htm

    Just scroll down a bit to the Alaskan Subsidized EAS Report. I picked the report on January 2010 only because it was in HTML. http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/x-50%20role_files/Alaska010110.ht

    The one item that caught my attention was that over half of the subsidies were given to Alaska Airlines. This is the same Alaska Airlines that posted a huge profit for their stock holders for last year; second quarter profit of 58.6 million just for example: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/07/23/1274012/another-big-profit-for-alaska.html

    This is the Alaska airlines that is trying to bring its Horizon partner into the Bristol Bay so they can “cork off” OUR Pen Air. They would love for Pen Air to loose there share of the EAS monies right now.

    What really made me wonder was how Begich and Mercowski and Young were all rooting for us rural “bush” Alaskans by protecting our jobs and of course transportation needs. Except I see Begich rooting for you, me, and all the little mom and pop air taxies serving the unprofitable routs and then you have Young and Mercowski rooting for the … wait for it…draws on chalk board… “corporations”.

    I live in the Bristol Bay.
    Orin Seybert brought me to my Alaska.
    I provide for the on demand air taxi operators.
    I have a realistic idea about who needs subsidies in Western Alaska but the EAS report doesn’t list any of our villages or our air taxis.

    Just something to think about.

    M. Paul

    • GoI3ig says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I realize there is a reason and a need for air subsidies in Alaska. However, some are just a bit suspect. The subsidized Alaska Airlines jet to Adak is one example. They fly a 737 out there twice a week to a community that has about a 100 people total.

      Adak is too far away to make it practical for a turbo prop aircraft such as those operated by ERA or PennAir, so the taxpayers pay for a 737 to haul anywhere from a few to a couple dozen people out there, not to mention the TSA employees and a police officer who have to tag along to provide “security screening” in Adak since they have jet service.

      I would hate to see the “per passenger” cost of that route.

      I suppose the government figured they would do whatever they could to make something of the closed naval air station on Adak. Even if meant propping up a community that has no economic basis.

      • StElias says:

        If I recall correctly the Navy elected to close the base, at which time the Aleut Corporation took ownership of the federal land and facilities there, the corporation owned most of Adak Island anyway.

        Neither the federal or state governments wanted anything to do with the place. The airport there is extremely expensive to operate. The corporation requested that the Alaska DOT&PF take it over. They were told no.

        Political pressure came into play down in Juneau. Resulting in the Central Region of the AK DOT&PF being told to maintain it. They needed a million a year to do so. They were not funded by the legislature for that undertaking, but still, they were forced to take on the airport anyway, out of their existing budget, which meant other locations had to do with less.

        I’m pretty certain that Adak qualified for EAS funds, right from the start, so our congressional delegation put pressure on the federal DOT to continue doing so, after the corporation took over. Now, I personally have mixed emotions about that entire venture, I can argue it both ways.

  7. Baker's Dozen says:

    Haven’t read the other remarks, but my take is:
    McCain doesn’t care one way of another about the planes. What he cares about is making Mrs. Todd Palin look stupid or not conservative enough or unAlaskan. He can’t and won’t say that picking her for the ticket was a mistake, that her politics stink and she’s an awful person. All he can do is stuff like this that people will ask her about> Don’t cut the planes? Where’s her conservatism? Do cut the planes? She doesn’t even know the needs of those in her own state. He wants to make her look bad, and if he makes Alaskans pay dearly for it, he doesn’t care and probably figures you deserve it for voting for her in the first place. He never would have been saddled with her had she not been governor.
    And I bet he hates having Bristol in Arizona.

  8. Enjay in E MT says:

    Altho I made a comment (#16 above) regarding EAS and after reading the comments –
    I went to Wikipedia and looked at the EAS routes/locations with my US Atlas

    As with many “federal budget items” – looking at the EAS routes (in some of the lower 48) the money to support the program is not necessarily the best bang for the buck if you follow my meaning. Some of the routes are within 50 miles of a major city/airport. Why? Is it to lessen congestion at the nearby city or airport?

    Rather then throw the entire program out – each route should be analyzed for NEED
    ~~Distance to airport (cut cities less than 100 miles from major airport)
    ~~Other means of transportation (regular bus or train service / personal vehicle)
    ~~Weather / Road condition (impassable roads)
    ~~Number of EAS flights (per day / per week)

    Now mind you I am NOT talking about Alaska, but honestly – can we say Macon or Athens Georgia need EAS when Atlanta is about 75 miles away?

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      A few years ago, I lived less than 50 miles from a mid level airport. But it took over 8 hours driving time to get there. Why? A mountain range.
      The local airport had regular service only for weekends and only during ski season. Don’t know about commercial service now, but medivac got used pretty frequently.

  9. ks sunflower says:

    As I end my day (stayed up late to ensure our daughter’s flight back from CA went safely using the tracking software on the web), I’ve reread the entire comments section.

    I am so proud of this blog! AKM has created something very special here. We discuss, disagree and learn from one another – all in a civil manner.

    I’d heard Rachel Maddow and/or her staff read this blog. I sure hope today is one of those days because Alaskans have really poured their hearts out along with tons of facts and personal stories of hardship, determination, and need. If Rachel could just pick up a fraction of the information AKM and all the other Alaskans have shared with us on the blog, she could impact this issue Big Time.

    This is a serious issue deserving serious exposure and consideration.

    I thank each and every one of you. I have learned so much here today!

  10. seattlefan says:

    It is a good thing we have bloggers, 24/7 cable news and people who keep the issues up front. I can’t help but think how many issues just got passed with no scrutiny or opposition simply because they weren’t known. I’m talking about politics before the internet and cable news. Think about it. Our politicians used to be free to do as they pleased because no one was really looking. It really makes me queasy to think about it. Thank the stars above we now have more visibility. It doesn’t always make a difference, but it does bring more accountability on all fronts and everyone in Politics must now at least think twice before they do anything. I love that.

    Had this issue come up 30 or 40 years ago, it probably would have just passed with no exposure and no opposition. I hope Senator Begich is successful in fighting this cause.

  11. Elsie says:

    http://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/buckled-ice-overflow-and-other-obstacles/

    Check that out. It is a timely explanation of just some of the difficulties of winter travel in rural Alaska when air travel and paved roads are unavailable.

    And with climate change that sometimes brings day temps above freezing, the supposedly frozen lakes and marshlands thaw out in unexpected ways leading to snowmachines careening through hidden openings in the ice. I can’t even begin to understand the terror of dying in cold icy water alone and out in the middle of nowhere.

    Life in the Bush is not for the fainthearted. People DIE simply trying to hunt game or catch fish for their family or just run over to the next village for supplies…

    The Essential Air Services Program connects the distant villages, just as the state and federal highways systems connect our Lower 48 communities. To ignore that and just say that everyone should move to the cities is short-sighted and truly ignorant. Senator Begich is to be commended for standing up to the cretins trying to de-fund the program.

  12. A few facts on Essential Air Service in Alaska.
    “The Airline Deregulation Act, passed in 1978, gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. The Essential Air Service (EAS) program was put into place to guarantee that small communities that were served by certificated air carriers before deregulation maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service. The Department currently subsidizes commuter airlines to serve approximately 140 rural communities across the country that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service. For more information contact the EAS and Domestic Analysis Division at (202) 366-5903.”
    source:http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/x-50%20role_files/essentialairservice.htm

    If you scroll down you wil find a link to the Alaskan Subsidized EAS Report. Click on May 2010 report and you will download a spreadsheet that shows the 44 communities in Alaska that receive EAS, the carriers, the aircraft type used and the annual subsidy.
    The subsidy currently is $12,564,599, which in my book is about a mile and a half of “Road to Nome.”
    EAS only supports scheduled flights, not charters or private Bush Planes.
    Finally, Alaskans know this is a regular fight in the Senate, John McCain has ALWAYS gone after EAS, but he always had to try and go through Ted Stevens and the rest of the Delegation, always to no avail.

    Mark Springer
    Bethel

    • StElias says:

      Good on you Mark.

      Saves me much time on spieling my guts out to the ignorant, saying pretty much the same as you espouse, but on other Alaska forums. (I don’t mean here on Mutflats where there is a much greater semblance of logic on the issue(s).)

      Too bad, today’s Alaskans couldn’t have been around back in 1938 when it was such an economic mess of air transport cream skimmers up here, during the peak seasons, and then complete draught for air service almost everywhere shortly after “termination dust” time.

      Sometimes I wonder why waste the effort in attempts to reason? History likes to repeat. Remember the wise words: “A person convinced against his will, will be of the same opinion still.”

    • StElias says:

      More accurately, it was the: “Airline Economic Deregulation Act of 1978”

      If you leave out the “economic” then you have those saying/screeching at you: “Hey, I still have to have a pilots license don’t I?” Or, “why are the FAA buildings still so full of bureaucrats?”

      Nope, they did away with having to prove “public convenience and necessity”—which means you and I can fire up an airline, using Boeing 747-800s, right now and fly to New York every day without any government approvals.

      Except, we still do need licensed pilots and safety assurance approval, that our aircraft are airworthy in accord with, gulp, yes, federal standards, where all can be pretty much assured a wing won’t fall off half way there when wife or husband or kids or etc. are on board. That is it.

  13. Earmark Ulu says:

    While I support the idea of limited subsidies, I have issues with WHERE this money is being distributed. For example, western Alaska is probably the poorest part of the state, but receives no funding. Conversely, communities which are on the ferry system are receiving millions in subsidies for jet service–enough to give every resident a Hawaiian vacation! They are well within reasonable range for lower cost propeller driven aircraft. Shoot, Minto accessible by road from Fairbanks.

    It seems more like a lottery than a carefully thought out process.

  14. LoveMyDogs says:

    And for Mama Bubbles:

    I love you girl. And I am not offended by the words that you speak because I have the same feelings. Not necessarily pointed specifically at Alaska. The people who voted these jokers into Congress or who sat on their butts and didn’t vote at all deserve everything coming to them. Unfortunately, we are ALL going to suffer. And it isn’t “trickle down” suffering, it’s trickle up suffering. The poorest will feel it the most. We will not all suffer equally. When I think of heating aide being cut, all I see are old people freezing in their homes on the east coast. The anger that I hold for the wealthiest people getting tax breaks is almost more than I can contain. Unfortunately, my vote and the letters that I write have very little impact. I just keep talking to reasonable people (who have been brainwashed by Faux “news”) because occaisionally I can get through to them. I talk and talk until they run out of excuses. I think that what is going to happen is that the people who voted for the idiots are going to have to be slapped in the face with the consequences of their votes. It is then, and only then, that their eyes will be opened. Hopefully it won’t be too late for all of us. Personally, I will probably die before I can afford to quit working.

    • bubbles says:

      thank you Love My Dogs. i was responding to a paragraph in the post but i meant the same for every person in this country who continue send lunatics to Congress. i meant it for my friend Wendy who never made more than $60,000 year in her job as a teacher and who is Black but lives in a middle class town in the suburbs. this woman has voted Republican for more than 40 years. it is like she has joined an exclusive club that has graciously allowed her entry. she doesn’t appear to see what her fellow party members are doing to her own profession although last time we spoke she was vaguely concerned because New York is broke and the powers that be have decided to cut education so they are going fire a bunch of folks. of course this lady doesn’t get it that she has nothing in common with multi billionaires and their agenda. she is a loyal, unthinking republican and that’s that.

    • Thank you for your caring comments…

  15. LoveMyDogs says:

    OK. I need to sound off a little here. And please forgive me because I am extremely biased on this subject.

    I have lived in southest and southcentral Alaska. When I lived in Sitka, the only way out was via airplane (which was monopolized by Alaska Airlines and therefore more expensive to fly to Seattle from Sitka than from Anchorage) or boat (that meaning ferry-as in the Alaska Marine Highway). Sitka is NOT a “village” nor would I classify it as “the Bush”. I wanted to move to Alaska. The job was in Sitka. After the cost of barging and ferrying all of our belongings to the place where my new job was, there was no way in h@ll that I could afford to just pick up and move because the planes would no longer be delivering mail, etc. It took 3-4 days to get to Sitka from Washington by ferry.

    When we packed up and moved (for another job) to the Peninsula it took a ferry ride and then at least 2 days of constant driving to get here (as I recall). Since then I have driven the entire road system several times (including to Whitehorse->Dawson->Whitehorse-> Circle->Fairbanks and home twice while handling for the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race). Two summers ago we drove 1200+ miles (round trip) to Eagle to help out after the flood/ice disaster. I have not been fortunate enough to see more than maybe 1/4 of this state.

    I do not think that anyone who hasn’t been here and travelled around has any idea how HUGE it really is. The issues with “bush” communities is really just a part of what is being talked about here. To say pack it up and move on is offensive. My commutes to the North Slope and back twice a month (and sometimes more). How many people have to pay (non-tax refundable) $200 one way to their job? Yes, there is a road. But I don’t like the odds of a guy driving 200 miles home on a two lane highway in winter conditions after working 12 hours per day for 14 days straight in -50 to -65 degree weather and making it home safely. Please keep in mind that he does not make a mint doing what he does either. Not everyone who works in the oil patch is rich.

    If I want a pair of Crocs, guess how they get to my mailbox? Not via a road system.

    And we are NOT living in “the bush”. The town of Eagle is completely cut off from the road system for the entire winter. Nome and Kotzebue can ONLY be accessed by air unless you have a couple of weeks and a very strong and well trained dog team (with a lot of support along the way) or a very good snowmachine and a ton of experience to get there. And you aren’t going to arrive with much in the way of “extra” supplies.

    Unfortunately, showing the map of Alaska superimposed on the lower 48 is not going to bring home to any of the creeps in Washington how big Alaska truely is. And h*ll no, I am not going to move. If we all moved (and where exactly would you suggest that we go?)this place would be ripe for the picking for all of those corporations.

    This is just a little peek at Alaska without even getting into native issues (which are also relevant but I cannot speak to the issues).

    • leenie17 says:

      As someone who grew up just outside of NYC and now lives in another city in western NY, I was amazed at the vast distances I experienced when I was in Alaska. I took a small plane from Fairbanks to Coldfoot and marveled at the immense areas of open and undeveloped land. I think it’s very difficult for many people to truly understand how vast those distances are when all they’re personally experienced is living in the cities and suburbs of the lower 48. Even some of the long trips I’ve taken through Wyoming and the open farmlands of the midwest cannot really compare. However…

      Those who have not personally experienced those kinds of distances should respect the knowledge of the people who have.

    • Thank you, that was interesting ….. I’ve long admired people who braved living in Alaska…adventurous souls daring to face the rigors head-on…just daily survival is challenge enough…yes, I STILL admire Alaskans..

  16. gran567 says:

    I found this marvelous site when I wanted information about the McCain unbelievable choice. In truth I developed an interest in Alaska years before when I was able to acquire a book called “Papa was a Bush Pilot” written by his daughter Sally Pollen that lived at that time in Palmer. Gave me a true picture of the necessity of this mode of transportation. To think that this might be stifled by ignoramuses in DC is unthinkable.

  17. Dagian says:

    Darn. I forgot to include this information before!

    http://sunlightfoundation.com/about/grants/

    Who We Fund
    The Sunlight Foundation offers “transparency grants” for organizations that are using the Web to further our mission of making government information more accessible to the American people. Our goal is to support groups and individuals who are going beyond the traditional, single subject public disclosure database, and who are interested in creating cutting-edge tools to enable the media, bloggers and citizens to sift, share and combine government data in ways that are useful for them.

    To apply for a transparency grant from the Sunlight Foundation, contact us for guidelines. To apply for a mini-grant ($1,000-$5,000), submit a grant application.

  18. Dagian says:

    *off-topic alert!*

    Jeanne, I have NO idea if the site I’m going to mention is truly as useful as it presented to me, but it sounded intriguing.

    Please remove if it’s inappropriate. Again, I JUST read about it elsewhere and thought it may have relevance here. I hope it’s not a pig-in-a-wig kinda thing.

    http://sunlightfoundation.com/about/

  19. flying pig ranch says:

    My comment earlier today went into moderation but here’s another thought. It’s life you need to go where the nuts and berries are to support yourself. I grew up rural midwest and we had to move on to find jobs. You drive though those farming areas and there is just not much left and we would not have been able to support ourselves in the way that our parents and grandparents did before us. It’s the same for people that live in remote areas today. Our economy has changed and we shouldn’t expect the government to build a “bridge to nowhere” for my somewhere.

    After reading this today, Ron Paul is starting to make alot of sense. I am done with this blog….

    • Paula says:

      This arguement can make sence on the surface. Yet, I bet many of these remote posts have services which others use – say fishing. Or oil (though I hate oil drilling I do still drive…). It can be so easier to show up at a market and get milk, rice and salmon and never think for a moment where these things come from -and none of them grew in the back of the store. As a retired dairy farmer I understand the balance between free market and food (specifically). I assure you, if people paid per gallon for milk, or per pound for cheese what it treuely costs to produce no one would buy it but Donald Trump and little miss richy pants Palin and those who make googobs of money. I am not from Alaska, but assume the same if true of many of their industries. On another note, we spend millions on roads here, many of which are built with federal dollars. What’s the difference. And finally, even though we may not all agree on this one topic (or maybe some others) it seems silly to close a door because of one different opinion. I am sure this was written from an Alaskan perspctive. Everybody exhale.

    • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

      This again? I suppose you didn’t have to learn a new language in order to move into an urban area, or am I wrong? I suppose you didn’t have to eat foods which your digestive system cannot metabolize correctly? I don’t suppose you had no access, or little access to foods which you could metabolize? I don’t suppose by the color of your skin, the shape of your face and your accent you would be ridiculed, snubbed and treated with little or no respect, or even consistently abused and exploited? I don’t suppose that an entire culture was lost which can never be recaptured when you moved? And when you did move, you were able to use roads, and u-hauls, trains, and buses to move your family and belongings?

      If I’m wrong, I apologize. This is just so shallow, making a comment before doing any homework. There are many more services, projects, uses and resources both living and earth made, etc in Bush Alaska than just our Alaska Native villages and communities. You have no idea what you are talking about because you are comparing a settled, geographically connected region with one that is not. ‘Nuff said. Maybe for fun I’ll run around to other state’s political blogs and tell them all what they need to do and how I know it all because somewhere in my past I had to make a compromise which gave me an all seeing perspective, so why shouldn’t everyone else? I’ll start with telling Louisianans what to do to fix their problems since I’m Alaskan and know all about their challenges because on a Federal level, it’s my state, too and they better damn well listen!

    • fishingmamma says:

      “we shouldn’t expect the government to build a “bridge to nowhere” for my somewhere.”

      This is the thinking that will get us all in trouble. The government does build the ‘bridges to nowhere’ and should continue to do so. That is the purpose of the government – to do collectively what one or two of us cannot do for ourselves. If we were to restrict the government to only a smattering of responsibilities in order to cut costs, we would have no infrastructure. No airports, roads, bridges, railroads.

      Please stop manking ‘the government’ into the bad guy. The government is us.

      • Blooper says:

        Flying Pig Ranch: Are you done with this blog because as an Alaskan Jeannie has commented on an issue that is important to her and many other Alaskans? Of course it may seem a little foreign or exclusionary to someone not in Alaska but isn’t that going to be the case with any blog that focuses on local issues?

        I think the basis of your solution (pick up and move elsewhere) is the same approach McCain would argue to support his bill. He tries to recommend a blanket solution that just won’t work well here due to the specifics of our geography. In any case, most of these Alaskan communities aren’t going to be going anywhere as many of them have been settlements for hundreds or thousands of years. The only thing that will happen if this bill is passed is make life much more difficult for what is already a hard place to live in.

        I’m not trying to diminish or demean your arguments. I’m just saying this is a critical economic issue for Alaska and we (as Alaskans) have to fight for our economic interests just as any other area might.

        • flying pig ranch says:

          Glad to have stirred things up. I understand that Alaskans depend on planes…..I have seen enough on Alaska Reality TV esp. since Palin was dropped on the outside in 2008. I have relatives that lived in Alaska. But here’s the deal, Alaska has no state income tax and limits personal property taxes and it would seem that you all could pony up for a state paid for air system for your residents. I pay state taxes on my car. Do you pay state taxes on your airplanes? Some of you don’t see to have a clue what is is like to live on the outside. I am not against government or Jeanne or whatever else you think. I’ve even known someone that froze to death in a shack, poor and old.

          • Blooper says:

            flying pig ranch:

            I don’t think you stirred things up. I just see this as an honest debate which imo is a good thing. Oh and good points about the state income tax. Although I can’t speak for other Alaskans, but I would gladly pay into a state income tax system if we had one in place.

            Hope I didn’t rile your feathers either. One of the things I like about this place is that we can all debate in a civilized fashion and I always try to keep my comments respectful, even when I disagree. 🙂

          • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

            You didn’t stir things up – you just sound like you don’t know what you are are comparing to or complaining about.

            If you would like to devote the next two years, or more, into comparing taxes on municipal, state and federal taxes in Alaska vs. the same in your state then have at it. We are talking about taxes on everything, planes, cars, boats, fuel, food, goods, services, EVERYTHING. Then maybe you would have an inkling overall whether we paid more combined taxes than in your state. And my guess is, that yes we do.

            We pay exorbitant rates for shipping for items you would consider common place because of haz-mat rules and the difficulty of shipping ground to avoid the extra precautions. These are taxed expenses. We pay exorbitant rates to travel, for instance – my town has no roads so I have to fly. When was the last time you paid $700 to get to the closest city in the course of your business? And how much of that is airport / airplane tax? A lot. Let’s compare property tax by municipality while we’re at it!

            For example, in my part of the state boats, and float planes are crucial – we are water, water everywhere. Where there isn’t water, there are huge mountains and ice fields. Our infrastructure consists of a marine highway, airports, airstrips, boat harbors, navigational technology, etc. And all generate tax activity.

            There is state income tax for corporations, just not individuals.

            Each region in Alaska is so unique in its demographic properties that our local tax structure varies all around the state as municipalities and boroughs decide independently of each other what to tax, how much and what services it pays for.

            The bottom line: The point you are missing is that federal funds are designated for infrastructure.

            You are blaming Alaskans for needing federal infrastructure funds because we don’t pay state income tax. Paying state income tax wouldn’t go to those federal projects any more than it would in your state. Taxes are designated, remember? And because of this, because the state currently makes enough in state owned oil resources (which are to benefit to all Alaskans as per our constitution), the STATE budget is designed around that.

            You are comparing apples and oranges and so to me, your statement holds no logical comparisons or conclusions. I’m tired of the sound bites about Alaska from those who don’t bother to think it through, or find out for themselves before making broad assumptions which are yes, irritating to listen to. I like to think that people do a little more thinking than that before spouting off.

            It’s not that discussion isn’t worthwhile, it’s that putting some thought into that discussion can be sorely lacking and therefore it becomes just more Internet graffiti.

          • Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

            I don’t suppose that the Feds own as much land in your state as they do in mine? Not only does the Federal land use provide resources & employment both statewide and nationwide, they safeguard resources available to all people who live and visit here, and generate federal revenue hand over fist in timber sales, mining permits recreation, and various others revenue sources. How much Federal revenue does your state produce? I think it should produce the same as mine or you should pay more in federal taxes. That’s how silly your statement is.

            http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/land_own.pdf

            Federal Land
            The federal government is still the largest landowner in Alaska with 60% of the total area (222 million acres). This acreage includes national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, military reservations and the North Slope National Petroleum Reserve. More than a dozen federal agencies manage federal lands in Alaska.

            The majority of federally owned lands have been set aside for public use (approximately 80 million acres). These are designated as follows:

            The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service manage about 119.3 acres (48.3 and 71.0 million acres respectively) for primary uses of resource protection and fish and wildlife conservation.

            The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management manage about 97.7 million acres (19.8
            and 77.9 million acres respectively) for multiple use purposes including timber production, fish and wildlife, recreation, water and mining. Management of these lands is based on priorities and compatibility among various uses.

            The remaining federal land is designated for special purposes, such as military reservations, the National Petroleum Reserve and U.S. Postal Service lands.

      • leenie17 says:

        If the government didn’t build ‘bridges’ (and roads and train tracks) to nowhere, we’d all still be living within a wagon’s ride of the east coast.

        I live in western NY and, at one point in our country’s history, that was considered to be ‘nowhere’ to those who were not Native American.

    • ks sunflower says:

      I know this will sound rude, and I apologize, but every time I hear or read the name Ron Paul and the noun sense in the same sentence, I can’t help laughing. The same thing happens with the name Sarah Palin and truth.

      Simplistic answers are not appropriate for a complicated world. They sound reassuring, but they never work. It’s sort of like the old scenario of a beauty pageant contestant being asked to tell the judges what she would want if she could have anything: peace. Sure as heck would be nice, but wishing won’t make it so.

      Coming up with out-dated, overly-simplified solutions that didn’t work a hundred years ago is not going to solve anything today. Sorry. The world has moved on and we recognize that we live in a diverse country within a larger and more diverse world.

      • beaglemom says:

        I agree with you, ks sunflower, except that both Ron Paul and Sarah Palin leave me in a state of great distress. I was raised to believe that we Americans are all “in this together” and that we, through our governments (local, state and federal) help one another. I have no problem with tax money going to help the people of Alaska, Hawaii or other states get where they need to go by air just as I am happy to see tax revenues going to improve the road systems here in Michigan. I also grew up not complaining about paying taxes. I remember that when I got my job back in 1982 many people in southeastern Michigan were losing jobs. In reaction to an increase in the state income tax rate (because of the bad economy here), there was a move to recall state legislators. I told someone who was getting petition signatures for the recall campaign that I wouldn’t sign because I did not mind paying more in taxes. I was grateful for my job and willing to do my part. Isn’t that what being a citizen in this country is all about?

        • ks sunflower says:

          I with you, beaglemom. I was also raised to understand that paying reasonable taxes is what good citizens do because we want a good government providing good services and protecting us from enemies, both foreign and domestic (could be anyone or anything from greedy corps to sleazy manufacturers or domestic terrorists). If everyone pays a little and their fair share, then everyone benefits. By pooling our money and expertise, we get a lot more than we could as individuals.

          I wonder if some of those die-hard libertarians buy insurance for their homes or on their life or even if they buy Sam’s Club or Costco or some similar big box membership – that’s about people pooling their power, working together to better deals, better service and protections. Gees, guys like Ron Paul just don’t think through their ideas as to consequences or parallels. Someday . . . .

    • Waay Out West says:

      Not being an Alaskan I may be wrong, if so I am sure somebody will be along to correct me. The “bridge to nowhere” scandal seems to be to based on one of those “facts” that ignores the most important fact which had nothing whatsoever to do with how many people live on Gravina Island. i.e. ignorance based.

      Ketchikan, which is the 5th largest city in Alaska, appears to be surrounded by mountains. The people live on the flat bits between the mountains and the ocean. There was no flat land to build an airport unless they bulldozed the town (in which case there would be no need for an airport) so they built the airport on the closest bit of flat land which happened to be across the half mile wide Tongass Narrows on Gravina Island.

      To get to the airport, workers and residents of Ketchikan have to take a ferry. Ferry costs $5 per person same day RT and $6 for the car each way. Passenger & driver total $22 to drop someone off at the airport and get home, then another $22 to pick them up when they come back. If you have to take the kids add $2 per head. You can take a bus if your luggage will fit under your seat. Presumably workers take the bus.

      Ferry makes 32 trips per day seven days a week.
      How much fuel do you think it burns?
      How long does a ferry last before it needs to be replaced?
      What does a new ferry cost?
      How long would the bridge have lasted? We know it wouldn’t have any fuel costs or need crew members to run it.

      It wasn’t a bridge to nowhere, it was a bridge to the airport.

  20. Jack Bennett says:

    A move to repeal farm subsidies will awaken another bear. The shameless attacks on public workers and services, such as the attacks going on in Wisconsin today is soon to awaken a really large bear. The,”Ive Got Mine”, group needs to watch the news and see the real handwriting on the wall. Russ Feingold and the ” Progressives For Unity”, challenging the “Citizens For Unity” Supreme Court ruling is really picking up steam. Worth a look for you.

    • Paula says:

      If people actually paid the real price it costs to produce food they’d be wishing they were Mexican. Or African. So they, too, could afford rice and beans.

  21. bubbles says:

    for all you high school teachers. here is something you might consider:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/02/16/deadline-race-top-commencement-challenge-february-25

    friday is the last day. hurry!

    • ks sunflower says:

      That is so cool! Wow – to have the President of the United States come to your graduation because of something your wrote. How amazing would that be?

      My husband said he will distribute that link amongst the faculty and administration of his high school. Here’s hoping some students wants to do it!

      BTW, bubbles, did you get the link I put on the post just prior to this one. It is to a site that has links to businesses that give educator discounts.

  22. John says:

    KS Sunflower got it right. Palin cost McCain the presidency, and rather than blame himself for his decision (it wasn’t a decision he made with his brain), he is blaming Alaska, and will do his best to punish Alaska.

  23. Loreenwl says:

    This is a small thing in relation to this article but Anchorage was decidedly not a tent city in the 1940s. I was there. I never saw one tent. And we lived in a house. My father arrived in Anchorage in 1919. Then it was a tent city.

  24. Enjay in E MT says:

    Here in MT – we are faced with the elimination of EAS, also, although we have the roads, we have vast distances to drive during inclimant weather conditions. Most of the communites faced with the loss of EAS are between 200-300 miles to the nearest airport, on two-lane roads – not interstates or turnpikes or toll roads. These small communities do not have “bus service” like Greyhound. We do have Amtrack (pass thru) service along the northern portion of the state with only 3 stops in a 600+ mile run and none of those “stops” are near a semi-serviced airport.

    I remember the up-roar when Denver built its new airport 45 miles out…. try planning a flight with minimum 2 hrs at airport with roughly 3-6 hr driving time depending on road conditions.

  25. Katmai says:

    Reading this post automatically brought something to mind. Remember when the issue of joblessness in rural Alaska was being discussed and, I believe, SP or someone in her administration made a comment to the effect that people in those areas should move closer to the city for jobs? That they should leave their families, their culture, their homes….move to where the jobs were. The issue of subsidies for rural flight routes seems to be somewhat of an extension of that mentality. Truly is a sad situation but the reality is exactly what AlaskaPi wrote earlier.

  26. Katmainomad says:

    I have lived in Kake and Katmai and traveled by plane to many villages for work. I understand that we absolutely are different, and that air travel is currently integral to the survival of our rural people. I also think that as this issue throws this dependency into the front of our thoughts, we also need to be thinking about what we will be doing in this age of increasing oil prices. World demand is outstripping supply and there will be pain if we don’t carefully think through a strategy of dealing with this. I don’t have the answers – alternatively fueled planes don’t seem to be a cheap reality, although maybe they will get there. Moving everyone to the road system seems a cruel, inhumane, and culturally insensitive choice. Building roads everywhere would certainly not be a cheap option, and has also has problems in a world of more and more expensive liquid fuels. Heck, Anchorage could find itself feeling a little isolated in a high-fuel-price world. I think communities and Alaska as a whole will need to face this and come up with some solutions. We are smart up here, and I’m sure we will figure out some great things! Not that I believe we should all become isolated little bubbles, but communities like Bethel and Igiugig that are finding ways to produce local food and all those communities (like Akutan) that are finding local sources of renewable power certainly seem to be heading in the right direction and testing the systems so that we can all learn to be stronger and more resilient.

  27. Paula says:

    Well, maybe they should all move to Wasilla and live closer to Wal Mart and get jobs at coffee shacks (or donut stores, because everyone knows they’re excellent for the economy). Isn’t that what Sarah told the villagers? I’m sure she’d welcome all these folks with freshly baked cookies. And a new Bible. Right?

  28. Steve D says:

    Anchorage a tent city in the 40s??? Not really. It was a tent city in the teens, but by 1940 it was a well established town and 20 years past it’s tent city days. To be sure, it was over-run by the influx of military in the 40s and that may have spawned the temporary use of tents, but to say it was a tent city in the 40s omits 25 years of Anchorage history and diminishes the efforts of those early pioneers.

    • lisa says:

      And the military has refused to leave Alaska. I am continually amazed there isn’t more anger toward a military that left Alaska a toxic mess to clean up after WWll. if not for the EPA all of it would have been shoved under the rug and our children even more marginalized health-wise.

      Pay attention citizens of Alaska. The military is increasingly less welcome elsewhere and we are a young state with weak laws and a govt. that is unwilling to stand up for we Alaskans when military interests seek an upper hand.

  29. UgaVic says:

    If they are determined to eliminate the Esstenial Air program why not push to redefine the program and get rid of the service to those places that have road service, that should take care of the lower 48 and their portion in this.

    • ks sunflower says:

      That would be too logical. It would also require them to research, analyze and produce practical solutions and – gasp – compromises.

      It’s like the question I keep asking — why can’t we raise taxes a little to help a lot?

      I was raised to believe that paying taxes was part of being a responsible citizen. When did trying to avoid that responsibility become the be-all and end-all? I hear a lot of talk from these same crazies about patriotism, but very little practical proof that they are people who really care about our country.

      You brought up a good point and a viable alternative, UgaVic. I wish the GOP/TP were open and competent enough to consider it.

      • leenie17 says:

        Those who scream the loudest about paying taxes are the same people who complain about all those poor people getting welfare and Medicaid and food stamps. They claim that those getting assistance are just lazy and want something for nothing, and yet THEY want all the government services without being willing to pay the taxes to support those services. Sounds to me like they’re the ones who want something for nothing.

  30. ks sunflower says:

    Okay, I’ve had it, too, but mostly with the following:

    1. McCain is punishing Alaska because he feels Sarah Palin cost him his last chance at the Presidency. While we are all grateful he didn’t become President, his bitterness is causing real hardship and loss. He doesn’t care about rank-and-file Americans because he lost touch with them decades ago (if he ever cared, i.e.). He is an angry old man intent upon punishing everyone who kept him from fulfilling his dream. LIke Boehner on jobs, if budget slashing costs jobs, McCain doesn’t care if rural communities dry up and die – their clarion call: “So be it.”
    2. Those libertarians/Tea Party types are the mental low-hanging fruit who cannot think outside their slogans. They see the world as black and white, good and bad, but they don’t see the world as complicated. They desperately want to cling to the past, to stop change and to deny the reality that we all need help from one another in one way or another. They are isolationists, reductionists and simplistic fools.
    3. The GOP is the party of the wealthy and the corporations. Anyone who thinks it isn’t, isn’t paying attention.
    4. Five of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court believe they can transform our culture into a haven for their wealthy admirers and supporters. Scalia and Thomas even scorn basic ethical standards by brazenly supporting partisan groups and cronies and then refusing to recuse themselves from cases through which those partisan groups and cronies benefit.
    5. Everyone is hurting because the GOP/TP refuse to give up on their cruelly ignorant notion that the rich and corporations cannot be taxed their fair share and that taxes in general are evil.

    They are willing and able to damn the rest of us to bare bones, law-of-the-jungle economic survival realities because they are unwilling to give up anything themselves.

    I wonder how much money would be saved if Congress did not get their automatic annual raises, but instead had to rely upon the consent of the voters to get raises? What if their insurance wasn’t unwritten by the taxpayer? What if the only money they could use for campaigns were from individual voters? Would we see more compassion, more attention being paid to the quality of lives of those voters? I think we would.

    Who is to blame for these outrages? We are – as a nation of apathetic voters who are easily swayed by sound bites and flag-waving appeals to our emotions instead of our intellect, who refuse to get off our collective butts, shut off the television or other electronic toys and get out and campaign, educate and vote. Our parents and grandparents had to fight for what we have. Many of them were physically bruised and battered and some even died. They spent long hours protesting, striking and waging information campaigns to generate support. We should be ashamed that we’ve become too lazy, too spoiled to follow in their courageous footsteps.

    All the benefits we have were hard won. They didn’t just magically happen. They weren’t here from the beginning. Good grief, we are quick to whine, but slow to action. We have to care enough about ourselves and our families to raise our voices and demand change. We have to care as much as our parents and grandparents and those before them cared or we don’t deserve what we have.

    Most of us were great in 2008 – we really did get up, get out and get busy. But in 2010 – too many of us just couldn’t be bothered. There was enough razz-ma-taz to get most of us engaged. Some of us didn’t get what we wanted right away and pouted by staying home. Some of us, like Cheney and the draft, “had better things to do.” Others simply didn’t give a damn for a whole array of reasons – mostly because we’re fools who don’t understand that we have the greatest gift at our fingertips – our vote. We can effect change. We can demand rights and privileges and flights to our rural areas. But we have to vote for people who will do OUR bidding, and vote against people who won’t. We have to pay attention.

    it is time for us all to stand up and demand that the ignorant open their eyes and pay attention before our country is a wasteland and the lives of our people are decimated. We don’t have to shout, be violent or hateful, but we do have to DO things. We have to care enough to sacrifice our time and our energy and what money we can spare.

    I am glad your Senators and Representatives are standing against McCain’s bill, but they’d better give it all they’ve got and every Alaskan had better swamp the Congress with angry calls, emails, faxes and letters – because, folks, if they don’t, all is lost.

    I am so grateful for blogs such as this that fight the good fight by trying to educate, to awaken common sense, and to plea for the common good. But blogs alone won’t do it – we have to all get busy.

    We have to each emulate what AKM is doing. We have to be the vehicles of change by carrying her words to friends, families and our politicians and becoming engaged.

    • bubbles says:

      thank you sunflower you put it so much better than i did above and now my Pi is mad at me.
      i didn’t mean my rant to be anti Alaskans but i didn’t make my point clearly. i will stop now and take my meds. must chill out and not be upset with what is going on in DC. we will all work to change things around in 2012. it will be hard but if we love each other and hold together we can do it. yes we can.

      • ks sunflower says:

        Ah, bubbles, I just wrote a reply to your reply to Alaska Pi (there’s a song rhythm in there somewhere, isn’t there?). I think we both just vibrated with frustration and tried out best to release the fury that these insane people generate within us. I sometimes don’t know if I am going to laugh, cry or punch my fist through a wall (okay, well, I don’t think I will to the latter because I am not totally insane yet).

        I’ve been calming down by listening to podcasts such as Desert Island Discs by BBC4 on iTunes (free, BTW). You get to hear fascinating interviews that use the interviewee’s choice of 6 songs that mean something to them. They have to explain their choices thereby opening up the floodgates of their memories – plus, you get to hear snippets of some of the greatest and most diverse music ever. The person being interviewed has to chose at the end of the show, 1 song from their list, one book (in addition to the show’s proffered Bible and The Works of Shakespeare) and one “luxury” and explain those choices. It is uplifting to hear people from all sorts of professions share their lives and their intellects. Try it, bubbles, it makes for a nice escape. Besides, where else are you going to learn that Alice Cooper’s father and grandfather were preachers and that he married a preacher’s daughter, overcame his demons and is now back in the fold (and addicted to golf). Alice Cooper?? See, there’s hope for us all.

        Either that, or play computer card games while listening to the news. Now, that diverts anger and anxiety just long enough to get through it. You get to absorb everything but your emotions are distracted by the strategies you have to employ.

        When all else fails, remember we respect and care about you and look forward to your comments.

      • scout says:

        “we will all work to change things around in 2012. it will be hard but if we love each other and hold together we can do it. yes we can.”
        Oh. Yes. We. Can.
        my friend Tracy says: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKYWOwWAguk

      • Blooper says:

        Heya bubbles! I’ll admit, as an Alaskan was a bit put off by your first post above. But, after having taken a few deep breaths and then reading your excellent clarification/follow up post I now understand what you were saying.

        I too am angry at my fellow Alaskans for voting against their best interests with the likes of Young, Parnell, Murkowski, etc. I did my best this year and voted for Scott McAdams, Ethan Berkowitz (for Governor), and Crawford (Congress). Unfortunately, once again as part of a Democratic minority in Alaska my (and many other Democrats/Independents) voices were overshadowed by the deeply entrenched Republican machine.

        I think the ‘blue’ movement here in Alaska is still making progress, but very slowly. I don’t think Alaska will always be a haven for red as we (hopefully) diversify our economy and start to break up with the oil companies that we’ve been ‘dating’ for decades now. After all, once upon a time Alaska was a blue state before the influx of oil people from the southern states changed the political landscape here. 🙂

        So Bubbles, you haven’t lost any respect from this Alaskan mudflatter. And I did really like your message that, even though we live far apart, we are still all Americans at the end of the day. Oh and if you haven’t been here yet, by all means come and enjoy your Alaska. It’s waiting. 🙂

        Peace and Love,
        Blooper

    • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

      Beautifully put sunflower.

      The sad reality is that the minority rules.

      Because they are willing to try to intimidate, they will do anything to obtain or retain power.

      This is the weakest point we progressives or liberals have. We are not amoral or bloodthirsty. But until we realize that our opponents are, and will stop at nothing, we handicap ourselves.

      While I admit that it is less than desireable to degenerate to the same level as ones opponents in many cases, it seems clear to me that if they are able to succeed at all, then we have to fight them harder. They have no scurples.

      During the civil war it was popular in the south to sing a song that urged people to hang abe lincoln from a sour apple tree.

      Some people have no morals at all, and therefore do not deserve to be treated morally.

      • ks sunflower says:

        Points well made. You nailed the problem progressives have; we don’t want to be like our opponents so our hesitancy gives them the upper hand – in the beginning. As the protests in Wisconsin are proving, though, people seem to be finally hitting that point where they will do what it takes to stand against these baby tyrants – tyrants they seem to be with their “our way or the highway” attitudes.

    • leenie17 says:

      I desperately hope that the actions of the right on local, state and federal levels these past 2+ years will finally inspire many of the previously apathetic citizens to get to their polling places on Election Day. We have seen how much damage the right can cause in a very short time, and they seem to have lost all sense of moderation and self-control these days. The legislation being proposed by Republicans in all levels of government is so over the top and destructive to the vast majority of our population that it is hard to fathom any compassionate, intelligent person supporting it.

      We were able to accomplish such a historical event in 2008 with the election of President Obama and many of the Democrats in Congress that I KNOW we can do it again. The recent history has shown us how critical it is that we repeat that victory again, or we will risk losing too much of what made this country a great one for the past 235 years.

      It’s time to change “Yes we can” to Yes, we MUST”.

  31. PollyinAK says:

    I don’t have a television. Is this topic being discussed on the local Alaska news stations? (It should be, and better be!)

    • PollyinAK says:

      I just read about this in the Juneau Empire. The reporter kept quoting Lisa Murkowski. (dang). I’m glad to read this brilliant piece on Mark, he is a brilliant person.

  32. Susabelle says:

    Regarding Senator McCain..Oh, if he only had a brain!
    I think his imprisonment and all that went with it has caught up with him. He needs to retire before he causes more harm. Like pushing Palin on us. Can’t take that one back can he!
    The people who live in DC are in a bubble. A comfy bubble that they fight like Hell to retain. They haven’t a clue how people in Alaska live..Oh, maybe they watched Sarah living the rich persons experience. Gee, how did she get around?
    A magnificent State with so many wonderful people living in it.

  33. LibertyLover says:

    It won’t matter to McCain. He doesn’t really care about people.

  34. Alaska Pi says:

    Good on you Senator Begich!!!
    If you blow up the Southeast portion of the Alaska map , it also becomes obvious there will NEVER be roads to tie those communities together. Water and air are the actual and obvious methods of moving people and materials.
    I work in a business which serves my community mostly but includes shipping goods to the bush here in Southeast. Try explaining to a vendor Outside that there is no such thing as UPS ground and certainly not UPS Air – they don’t believe it’s true until they look at a map . What others take for granted is not the reality here.
    Would love to see CAGW spout about abandoning roads or rail lines other folks rely on for transportation of goods and people.
    They have also targeted monies for water and sewer for small villages here with the idea that rural folks should just move to the cities.
    They are bean counters of the worst variety. The beans they count are homogenous and uniform . They can’t see all the wild variety which exist in reality.
    And Senator McCain- well. Ummm. Well.
    Gave up trying to understand anything he does .
    Pffft.

    • PollyinAK says:

      And wasn’t it Senators from Alaska who introduced bills that ended up protecting all of American citizens? Forget exactly, but the bills instituted 911 emergency network, and USDA food inspections.

      When Alaskan Wally Hickel served as Sec. Dept. of Interior, he stopped off shore drilling in Santa Barbara, CA, and saved the Florida Everglades.

      Good for Senator Begich.

    • ks sunflower says:

      You are so right, Alaska Pi. Too many of us have mental horizons that extend only to our own property lines, be those lines our apartments, yards, communities or states. We fail to educate or care about other places, being so self-absorbed with our own little pieces of the world.

      For example, here in Kansas, there is a huge divide between Eastern Kansas and Western Kansas, culturally and economically. Well, to be more accurate, North-Eastern Kansas and most of the rest of the state. There are really only a couple of large urban areas (the Wichita Metro-area and the Kansas City metro-area) with significant smaller city areas such as Topeka (our capital), Manhattan (our primarily agricultural university city) and Lawrence (our most liberal university town). We might as well be speaking about separate countries on some issues. Johnson County where I live is regarded as an east-coast oriented area culturally, as is St. Louis in MO. [Even St. Louis and East St. Louis (divided by the river) are poles apart; it’s like one cannot understand or accept the other.] The social values wars are strong and deep even here in Kansas though JoCo votes Republican just like the rest of the state (though it used to be more moderate Republican – you know, those creatures now cast out of the GOP to be independents or Democrats or lost souls generally). Rural vs. urban, university town vs. industrial areas, it’s all madness. We have different economic needs, perhaps, but really we are still Americans and as humans have the same basic hopes, need and desires. I hope we get to the point, one day soon, where we respect our differences but embrace our similarities more.

      I think all states have these kind of geographical social and political divisions, but you are right, Alaska is unique because of its size and diversity of terrain and its exceedingly small population spread out over it. Most Americans don’t have a clue and probably, if pushed, would say they don’t give a damn because they’ve never thought about it or been educated about the vastness and diversity of Alaska.

      Perhaps we are all provincial in our interests. I live across the street from someone who lives in a house two streets away from where she was born and grew up. The only travel she’s ever done outside our city or state has been on cruise ships and that even rarely. She won’t even drive in areas more than a few miles from her home in the same city — and she has lived over half a century with this limited view of the world! She’s a terrific person and a good neighbor, but she has a very restricted worldview. (Do I need to add she watches Fox News?) She’s just never either been interested in other places enough to overcome her fear of the unknown or of traveling alone.

      Me? I am a wanderer (although still not outside the US, darn it). I’ve lived in the NW, the South, the southeast and Midwest and would love to give the west coast and SW (except AZ) a few years before I leave this planet. My secret dream is to travel the US like John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley, though go further and take longer, to see who we are, how we live and what it looks like all over this vast country.

      You obviously love Alaska, and Alaska speaks to each of us who come here to read and share our views. I wish Alaska had more advocates such as you. If so, the passion you have would get the attention of the decision makers and force them to think twice, maybe three times before arbitrarily cutting programs affecting Alaska.

      Wasn’t that one of the “reasons” Sarah Palin proudly and loudly proclaimed she resigned for – to better promote Alaska and Alaskan interests. Harrumph – she certainly failed to do that. She is probably one of the reasons people like these clowns who want to cut air service have a skewed impression or even hate the state. More likely, though, they simply share her willful ignorance.

      Alaska Pi – you inspire us all, wherever we live, to speak out on behalf of Alaskans.

  35. bubbles says:

    Alaska is different. It’s said a lot, and it’s true. Things that work in the contiguous 48 states don’t necessarily work here. The lack of understanding by those “Outside” of this phenomenon contributes to Alaskans’ slightly xenophobic, and more than slight libertarian bent. “Get off my tundra, you meddlesome kids.”
    *********************************************************************************************************************** time for Alaskans to wake up and get a clue. you are as a whole xenophobic and libertarian? well, imo, a libertarian believes that government subsidies are a waste of taxpayers money and such programs should be either greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. the majority of Alaskan voters sent a Palin clone named Parnell back to Juneau as your governor. the same ignorant man who couldn’t be bothered to greet the president of the United States when he came to your State. and except for Mudflats pups there was no letters or cries of outrage from your citizens.
    you sent Murkowski back to Washington. she who has no problems voting in lockstep with her cronies. yes. she did sorta, kinda got a clue when she lost to Joe Miller and her former partners in crime abandoned her but basically she fully supports the Republicans’ Contract to destroy America.
    the people of Alaska accepted Palin’s shenanigans in attacking President Obama except of course those Alaskans who objected and protested vigorously through Alaskan blogs.
    so now it is time to accept the fact that you own xenophobia and selfishness has come home to bite you.
    John McCain now hates Palin. if you thought he would go on Letterman and say that Sarah Palin and her family are nothing more than low-life grifters and con artists you must think again. no. he will instead make everyone of you pay. and pay dearly if he can.
    Sarah WTF brought the attention of the rest of us on your state. and not in a good way. don’t be surprised if that bill is passed.
    if i had my way all Alaskans would have to live on the road system and the rest of the land would be turned into one humongous national reserve. which means that Alaska would not own or operate any natural resources outside Mat Su and Juneau. SarahWTF has shown us what Alaskan xenophobia looks like and it is ugly. you may be be beautiful but Sarah Palin. Murkowski, Young, Parnell et al.do not reflect that image and they are the ones who make the laws that affect us all.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      bubbles- you have broken my heart with this anti-alaska rant. I am done for awhile…
      I have had it

      • bubbles says:

        heal thy heart my love. no anti anything from me. i am speaking against those who have stained the reputations of beautiful, loving and courageous Alaskans. i am angry in behalf of my brothers and sisters there,. Alaska Pi, InJuneau, I See villages, Scout, Martha UYS and all the rest. i am angry this morning with Parnell and Sullivan and with the people who congratulate themselves on with holding health benefits for Alaskans, for with holding government funds from Alaskans to winterize their homes. i am angry with Parnell for continuing to disrespect the office of the President. i am angry with those who belong to militias and who own gun shops and put ugly racist pictures of our president. i am angry this morning with wealthy people who fly from Alaska every year to go to warm racist Arizona and then bring back to my Alaska all the hate they learned in their warm weather retreats.
        i say My Alaska because it is mine. it belongs to us all just as New York is Your New York. when you come here you expect to be received as a fellow American.
        if your governor visits he is accorded all the respect due to his rank by our governor.
        if you visit New York your Bubbles will treat you like family and will fight any who would dare to make you feel unwelcome.
        my Senators will vote to continue to subsidize the planes. they better.
        don’t you dare go anywhere my Pi. this was not aimed at you but at those libertarians who read this blog. i meant to say that when they vote for Tea Party and libertarians that is what they are voting for. everybody pays. so don’t be mad at me sweetie. i will always love Our Alaska and the many who, like you, believe that all of us are responsible for each others’ welfare. we are one nation and what impacts you also impacts me. when you cry. i cry. when you are hungry my stomach hurts.
        i love you Pi…..your bubbles

        • ks sunflower says:

          We all respect you bubbles, Alaskan or non-Alaskan. We know your heart is in the right place and is as huge as the sky.

          I loved reading your response to Alaskan Pi, and hope Alaska Pi will as well. Your first comment (as mine below) was driven by outrage and frustration, wasn’t it? We are all feeling the fury of impatience with these short-sighted, mean-spirited bunch of dunces whose sense of importance outstrips their common sense.

          Thank goodness there are bubbles in the world. They (and you) life our spirits and our eyes to hope for better and saner times.

          • bubbles says:

            thank you Sunflower. i hope Pi will read it and forgive my anger at the dunces. i wouldn’t ever want to offend my Alaskan family. not never ever.

          • Paula says:

            Bubbles, I got what you were saying. The same is true across the counrty, they vote in these asswipes then complain. Sometime -regardless of what state it is, you do feel like just saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!”

            Sometimes, something extreme needs to happen – like cutting air travel to small villages, to wake people up. It’d be a shame, but if people realize what no pork, small government, no spending, etc. can really mean, they might rethink their position.

            It’s easy to say cut! when it’s not your childs medicine. Or cut! When it’s not a plane that delivers your meals/mail. Or cut! When it’s not your ass freezing to death for whatever reason.

            Sometimes people truely need a dose of their own medicine.

          • bubbles says:

            Paula that is what i meant in a nutshell.

          • Alaska Pi says:

            dearest bubbles-
            I do need to stay away from here for awhile- I have real windmills to tilt at elsewhere (You won’t see me coming Trident but I’m on my way )
            At whatever level I understood what you said , it was the last paragraph which did it.
            ———————————
            if i had my way all Alaskans would have to live on the road system and the rest of the land would be turned into one humongous national reserve. which means that Alaska would not own or operate any natural resources outside Mat Su and Juneau
            —————————-
            We don’t have a road system in Southeast. We are surrounded by National Forest and have very little to say about it’s management . We can’t outvote ANC and the valley so we have damn all to say most of the time in the state even though the state capital sits in our front yard.
            Western Alaska is even more cut off, as are parts of the interior and far north. Much , if not most , of the state could care less about us all so it serves their purpose to wish us all on the road system so they don’t have to spend any of “their” money on us, all their money which comes from North slope oil, ya know?
            It would take forever to explain how local govt works here but for organized cities and boroughs we have a lot of rights and responsibilities under home rule charters which are different than many are used to.
            Unorganized areas are sadly neglected by the state already though the state has a mandate to provide.
            While it looks like the subsidy may survive ( and there are some wierdities as per a commenter way down thread – though the brush was too broad there ) I am saddened that so many people don’t even want to entertain the idea that air or water is/are our highways. When people talk about think globally, act locally regional transportation suited to the area it is in is very important. Fruitcakes like Mr McCain want to make political points not solve problems. We need to solve problems.

            And Paula, cutting air service to small villages will not wake anyone up. Urban Alaska would shrug, snark about Natives and forget it as would all the bean counters who want one-size-fits-all answers and fooey on anyone or any other way of doing things.
            Much is made of how folks left the farming country in the lower 48 because there were no jobs. It is a lot more complicated than that and so much of the result is gross factory farming, GMO corn for ethanol (monster corn re poet Adruan C Louis who is one of my favorites), and a country which is divorced from it’s land and food and waters . There are a lot of us here who want to learn from those mis steps .
            My father’s people were dirt farmers in Kentucky, the bones of my mother’s people rest in the Aleutians… Land and water and people are all that matter in the end… we can make $$ mean anything we want it to since we made it up and I’m worn out right now from all the using it as a weapon against other people.
            I do understand what you meant after your further remarks and want you to stop worrying. I do need to be gone from here for awhile.
            hugs, Pi

        • Very well-said, bubbles…sometimes, a loving rant is necessary and good….it is an artful thing to do it well….

    • Alaska Pi says:

      http://wasillaalaskaby300.squarespace.com/journal/2011/2/17/kivgiq-2011-part-3-day-1b-a-race-is-run-honors-won-a-seal-oi.html#comments
      The best of what we are lies well away from from what others deem important centers of American life.
      I will not be part of cutting it off from the whole.

    • Millie says:

      Look what Alaskans keep voting into office – Palin and Parnell – absolutely makes me sick!

      The only one I have good feelings about is Senator Begich.

      Oh, and the photo of John McCain is frightening to sayt he least.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I have been thinking for quite some time that what people need will be a dose of the world as it will look under right-wing republican control. That may be what it takes to get people to pay attention when they vote. You are right, bubbles, and thank you for sayin this.

  36. Go Mark – I really like the map! visuals!!

    • flying pig ranch says:

      The map illustrates another point. How many people live in Alaska? In comparison, what is the population of the area under the Alaska overlay? When people live and work off of the grid whether its electrical, communications, or roads they have made a choice and a very expensive one. Keep the Feds out of your independence and have the State of Alaska pay for your lifestyles. Your girl Sarah sure didn’t seem to have a problem getting around the State for her little TV show that the Alaska taxpayers probably helped with the tax credit or whatever subsidy that is paying for all of those Alaskan adventure shows. ERA can add more staff, Ice Road Truckers can offer cab service….you’ve got sled dogs, and iron dogs and reindeer to pull sleighs. Get out there and show your work ethic and common sense ingenuity. Tax your own Tunda.

      OT, Palingates has a photo up of the Palin home on Lake Lucille. There are alots of comments about how ugly it is. Except for being way bigger than the houses we have been seeing on all of those TV shows about life in Alaska, it doesn’t look much different. Nothern climate houses are more about shelter than beauty. The Palins have just been able to buy more covered area than the average person can afford up there. Did the 14-foot fence really blow down?

  37. 24owls says:

    And the dumbing down of America continues to roll with this kind of knee jerk short sighted slash and burn budget stupidity. What does McCain care? He doesn’t and his lack of careful or critical thought process of the consequences of this amendent is of course laughable – hey McCain it has been proven over and over again that if the tax cuts for the very rich – that would be you moron – were not extended this year that the budget deficit would have been cut by billions of dollars. You cut those benefits first and then start hacking away at other services to balance a budget that is shouldering two wars that … there was no thought process how to pay for. Did you not think of the nation’s debt when you voted for those two expenses?? Of course you didn’t, retire old man, your brain stopped functioning when you picked Palin to be your side kick and you did not even consider the consequences of that twit being a heartbeat away from one of the most powerful positons in the world.

  38. I See Villages From My House says:

    And where the hell is Sarah Palin? You know the one, John McCain’s political Frankenstein who quit on her Gubernatorial commitment desiring to progress Alaska (and represent the whole country – according to Bristol) in a different direction? Who went on to have the State further subsidize her family’s rock star lifestyle by filming Sarah Palin’s Alaska junket on how far flung, disparate and unique our State is compared to the Lower 48 Contiguous States?

    You mean John McCain didn’t learn anything from this instructional travelogue and is still seeking to destroy Alaska? You would think with the passing of his nemesis, Senator Ted Stevens and with his BFF Sarah, he’d show some love for our State, but no, he still has a burr up his A$$ about the Last Frontier. How many Alaskan snow birds migrate to Arizona every year, and not one of them writes John to defend Alaska’s very legitimate needs? The country made a promise to each State, and it is our Delegation’s job to make them keep it.

    She let’s her few impressive legislative achievements (ACES and AGIA) die on the vine in Juneau and says not a word, so it figures she wouldn’t read anything other than gossip magazines and blogs about her rather than act as a citizen watchdog for Alaska’s interests.

    Keep in mind Alaskans, Joe Miller, as the State’s newly minted Junior Senator, wouldn’t fight this on the floor – that “fiscal conservative’ would have trusted that the Free Market and good old fashion struggling would fill the void.

    We need to get the staff of CAGW dropped off in a village and institute a no fly zone for about a week. See how quickly they’ll be demanding goods, services and transportation.

  39. Diane says:

    What was that term Boehner used?
    So be it?

    Well this is the result of all that tea party money and the republican corporation money.
    The corporations will get what they want and the rest of us will suffer.
    Yes even other states elections effect us. And if the republicans win in those states……

  40. GoI3ig says:

    Maybe they need to show Flying Wild Alaska in Congress so they get it? As the saying goes in many parts of Alaska, “you can’t get there from here.”

    Try to fly from Fairbanks to Barrow. Your flight will take you through Anchorage. For those of you who live “outside,” look that one up on a map.

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