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May 3, 2016

Who Does The GOP Think That They Represent?


This week several legislators from the House minority wrote an op-ed. One paragraph specifically answers the question, “What the hell are they doing still in Juneau?” I know, you probably thought it was for all the fancy lobbyists dinners and fat per diem checks, but it boils down to this: “The $775 million in cash subsidies to the oil industry is more than the combined budgets of the Alaska Court System, Department of Corrections, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Department of Fish and Game. Combined.” Can we just think about that for a minute? I’ll wait for you…

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Bird of the Week – Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk, Delta Barley Project, Delta Junction

The Swainson’s Hawk is uncommon, even rare, in Alaska. This bird was seen and photographed in Interior Alaska in 2013. The normal range of this species extends only to the Canadian prairie. Oddly enough, a second Swainson’s Hawk was seen in Fairbanks that same spring. Like other Buteos, this is a polymorphic species. This is a dark morph, as was the one in Delta, although they are obviously different birds. Swainson’s Hawks are best known for their spectacular annual migrations, moving in vast flocks from North America to the pampas of South America. It’s not uncommon for hawk watches in…

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Republicans-know-best Strategy Failing Alaska


A few months ago, I explained why the Republican majorities running the Alaska House and Senate would be wise to accept a Democratic offer to put aside party politics and work together as one big caucus of the whole to address our fiscal crisis. The last time we had a bipartisan Senate, it managed to come up with a fair oil tax structure, and put $16 billion in the bank. And thank God they did, because we’re living off that savings right now. But no, Republicans rejected bipartisanship and decided to go it alone. After their successful partisan gerrymandering of…

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Bird of the Week – Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk self-identifying; Delta Barley Project, Delta Junction

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common hawk in Alaska. This another polymorphic hawk, presenting a bewildering variety of colorations. In fact, the dark morph, “Harlan’s Hawk,” was at one point thought to be a different species. In Alaska, look for the dark head and the dark “belly band” and you’ve probably got a Red-tailed. In flight, it’s a little easier. Red-tailed Hawks breed throughout interior and southcentral Alaska. Alaska and Canada birds migrate to the southwest U.S., to Mexico and Central America and even to northern South America. Elsewhere in the U.S. they are present year-round. Camera geek stuff:…

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Mary Epperson Made Homer What It Is

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Originally Printed in the Anchorage Daily News Alaska has lost one of our best — I would venture to say our very best — this week. Mary Epperson passed away in Homer, surrounded by her family. She was 93. In 1954, Mary, her husband Jack and two children moved to Alaska. At her insistence they brought a piano with them. Their family settled on the Kenai Peninsula, and Mary set about making the community of Homer what it is today. This is no exaggeration, she literally made our little hamlet by the sea what it is. She was the city…

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Bird of the Week – Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk, Delta Barley Project

Rough-legged Hawks are rare in most of Alaska; they breed on the North Slope along the bluffs along the north-flowing rivers. But they move through eastern Alaska in the spring to get there. The big agricultural fields have a lot of small rodents, which gives the hawks a chance to fuel up before heading further north.  This bird is snacking on a Red Squirrel. The hawk takes its name from its heavily feathered legs; most hawks have bare, unfeathered legs. Presumably, it’s an adaptation to the bird’s seasonal arctic habitat. The Rough-legged Hawk is polymorphic, meaning it comes in a…

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More Guns, Less Budget in Juneau


Last month a woman took her own life on the steps of the Courthouse in Juneau. The Legislature went on lockdown — after ushering aides and press out of the room. As a result, the Legislature is considering new protocols to keep their own precious souls safe from any gun violence that might befall them while at work. I get it. The Capitol building is a no-gun zone. But what I find truly remarkable is that Sen. Pete Kelly will even go to work in a “gun-free zone.” According to the “logic” in his op-ed on SB 174, the Legislature…

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Bird of the Week – Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk Juvenile, Chena Hot Springs Road, Fairbanks

Alaska has two Accipters, the genus of smaller hawks with rounded wings and long tails. This is the smaller of the two, the Sharp-shinned Hawk. This is a juvenile, still counting on mom and dad for meals. In fact, he caught WC’s attention by his incessant squawking, begging for food. WC would guess that he’s pretty near his last delivered meal, that his parents were gong to leave him on his own pretty soon. If he kept that noise going all night he would have wound up a snack for a Great-horned Owl. The Sharp-shined Hawk feeds almost exclusively on smaller…

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“Apparently All Y’all Are White” SDCC 2012

Last week Rosario Dawson gave, what is so far my favorite speech of the election. She’s one of the founders of Voto Latino and one of my favorite actors working today. So when she took the stage I knew it was going to be interesting. In front of a crowd so yuge that it would make Donald Trump blush, she declared the running meme of the election – that Bernie can’t win states that aren’t ‘white and rural’ complete garbage. After correcting the facts on Bernie’s pro-choice record, Dawson continued with the line “…apparently all y’all are white— that’s crazy….

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Trump/Republicans Not Any Different on Abortion


Donald Trump has finally said something I believe. He’s since walked it back, but this week he said he believed women should be punished for abortions. He also said he didn’t think anything should happen to the man who impregnated the woman. That seems fair. Holy hell has torn loose. The anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights people came together in shock that the GOP presidential front runner would say such a thing. The anti-abortion surrogates hit the television circuit to say how much they loved women who consider abortion and would like to “take care of them” not punish them. Sen…

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