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July 23, 2018

Transparency? You can’t HANDLE transparency.

Let’s talk about why some Republican Senators actually said right out loud that the public should be kept in the dark about ethical issues surrounding legislators who may be voting despite a declared conflict of interest. Let’s just say for a minute that you work for a candy manufacturer. Pick your favorite. Mine is Butterfinger, so we’ll use that here. So, there’s a big Butterfinger factory somewhere in Alaska, and you work there. And let’s also say you’re a member of the Alaska legislature – a senator. Butterfinger is happy to let you work 7 or 8 months of the…

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GOP Parasite TransCanada Finally Shed

The divorce between Alaska and TransCanada became final this week. The Legislature voted to buy TransCanada’s share of a prospective natural gas pipeline from the North Slope. How the state ended up in that shotgun marriage is a lesson in corporate power and Republican legislators’ willingness to kowtow to it. Our story begins with Gov. Sarah Palin’s attempt to encourage a natural gas pipeline. It wasn’t a terrible idea to try to get an independent pipeline company directly involved in the project. When the Legislature passed the Alaska Natural Gasline Inducement Act in 2007, the idea was to incentivize a…

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Big Ideas for a Big State

By Howard Weaver President Obama’s recent attention to Alaska — especially in Dillingham, Kotzebue and Seward — provides a welcome focus for looking beyond the bleak landscape of oil price collapse and budget cuts toward a brighter, more sustainable future. For perhaps the first time since western contact, Alaskans may be motivated to turn away from the love-em-and-leave-em dynamics of extraction to embrace their genuine treasures: the cultural diversity and frontier spirit of its people; an abundance of renewable resources that can be managed and sustained forever; and indigenous wisdom from the North that can benefit all mankind. Seward, then…

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Sarah Palin, Speaking American, and Donald Trump

Authors note: Since every other blog and news site on the planet has commented on this, I felt that the Mudflats should share in at least some of those clicks. Because let’s be honest here, the only reason any of us are covering her at this point is for the traffic; she doesn’t have the influence to really  justify it. So with that statement out of the way, enjoy the slow moving train wreck. You’re reading this because, like me… you quietly hate yourself. But look at it this way; you didn’t have to transcribe 15 minutes of Palin-Speak.  There seems to be two out…

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Obama Comes to Alaska: We Have to Break the Ice, so We Can Save It.

As I drove, I imagined having to explain to a Secret Service agent that the reason my boots set off the sniffer dog is because the last two places I wore them were a pig farm and a gun show respectively. So, there was a perfectly good explanation why I smelled of gunpowder, and fertilizer. “No really! I swear! I still have the pictures on my phone!” I was glad I had allowed extra time. I had allowed so much extra time, it turns out, that I was the first member of the press at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) and waited in…

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Obama Comes to Alaska: We Have to Save the Ice so We Can Break It

As I drove, I imagined having to explain to a Secret Service agent that the reason my boots set off the sniffer dog is because the last two places I wore them were a pig farm and a gun show respectively. So, there was a perfectly good explanation why I smelled of gunpowder, and fertilizer. “No really! I swear! I still have the pictures on my phone!” I was glad I had allowed extra time. I had allowed so much extra time, it turns out, that I was the first member of the press at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) and waited in…

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Alaska Lemming Caucus Over the Edge

This has been a difficult week for many Alaskans. So much uncertainty as 10,000 pink slips go to our friends and neighbors working for the state. Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly argues they aren’t pink slips, because there’s an “if” in them, as in “You’re not laid off if a handful of senators get their poop together.” Of course, we know there’s no chance Pete and his collaborators will get their poop together. Instead of pink slips, people online are calling them “Pete slips.” Our current legislative crisis is the handiwork of a small cabal of senators who refuse to compromise their misguided ideology. The…

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Send in the GOP Clowns

It’s politics as usual in Juneau. As Alaska burns, Alaska Republicans bloviate. We’re staring down the barrel of multibillion-dollar state budget deficits as far into the future as we can see. Are the Republicans majorities in the Legislature acknowledging that their misguided spending and tax policies got us into this fix? Are they prepared to set a new course? Not bloody likely. Rather than rolling up their sleeves, trying to come up with constructive solutions, they’re trotting out the usual gimmicks to divert public attention from their failures. So, by the lights of legislative leaders, what’s the big problem in…

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Click Bishop Takes a Page from Palin – Reads Dr. Seuss

Republican Senator Click Bishop, whose district covers land from Fairbanks to Valdez took a page from Sarah Palin and read a story by Dr. Seuss to the Alaska State Senate. Well, it wasn’t quite a Dr. Seuss original – more of a revision of Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham seen through the filter of government overreach. Unlike Half-Term Palin’s teleprompter read at CPAC last year (when she held the book as a prop), Click seems to have actually written the words down in a copy of Green Eggs and Ham. I’m hoping that he bought a new copy and didn’t ruin one of from his grandkids….

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Gasline Secrets as Parnell Exits

Alaskans know about airplanes and flying. No other state’s residents fly as much as we do. So we know every plane really ought to have two wings. Same with birds. There are no halibut-style birds, with two wings on one side of their bodies. I find government works best with matching wings, one on the left, one on the right. For the last few years, we’ve been trying to fly the Spirit of Alaska with two right wings. As a result, our captain, co-pilot and the rest of the crew never really got us off the ground. They didn’t kill…

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