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April 2, 2015

Send in the GOP Clowns

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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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Court Sees Value in Protecting Bristol Bay

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Before the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative was ever printed on statewide ballots, it had to defend a legal challenge from an individual named Richard Hughes, the Alaska Miners Association, and the Council of Alaska Producers. The Alaska Supreme Court issued an oral decision allowing that initiative to go to the ballot. Today, the Court issued a written order justifying its decision, Hughes v. Treadwell, Slip Op. No. 6981 (Alaska Supreme Court, Jan. 30, 2015). In order for a citizen ballot initiative to be valid in Alaska, it must avoid certain prohibited topics.  Under Article XI, section 7, it may not engage in an appropriation…

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

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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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Alaska… You Crazy! Election Recap

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On election night, one state in the nation voted to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage, and add an extra level of environmental protection for sensitive ecosystems facing development. It’s largest city also voted to overturn an anti-labor ordinance which was the brain child of a Mayor (running as a Republican for Lt. Governor) who appears to be about to go down in flames to a non-partisan gubernatorial ticket. That’s like a cool, edgy progressive place to live, right? What if I told you that this very same state has elected by a comfortable margin, a majority in the legislature…

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Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife

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By Bill Sherwonit Given my love for essays (both writing and reading them), it’s a special delight to have a collection of my pieces published this fall by Alaska Northwest Books. Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife includes thirty-four essays, written over two decades’ time. One of the joys of doing the book was to re-read scores of the essays I’ve written across the years and to find that a good number of them still “hold up” (at least as judged by me and the editors). To give a sense of the book’s scope and intent, I’ll here borrow from…

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NY’s Howie Hawkins – Candidate for Governor

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A while back I had a chance to interview two candidates for Governor in New York State. We posted our interview with Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout back in September – unfortunately she lost the primary to current Governor Andrew Cuomo. Still on the ballot though, is Howie Hawkins. He’s on the Green Party ticket, having run previously for US Senate and House. After speaking to a crowd of anti-fracking protestors outside the New York State Fair, Hawkins let loose the Democrats and the Republicans – explaining why there’s a need for a third party. He also emphasized that if Governor Cuomo wins…

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Sullivan Goes ‘Fog of War,’ Then Flees

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Looks like our Republican “Alaskan” Senate candidate has been watching The Fog of War, and taking a little advice from former Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. “Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you.” Savvy advice when one’s actual answer might be harmful to one’s political prospects. The question asked of the candidate by KTUU’s Grace Jang was pretty straightforward: “How much backing are you getting from the Koch brothers?” One would expect, perhaps, a numerical answer of some kind, like “millions of dollars.” Percentages maybe. Or a…

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A Sullivan Win Puts Alaska Last

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Poor Dan Sullivan, I think he was born with a pair of silver flip flops on. His Cleveland, Ohio, parents were caught last week by the Center for Public Integrity trying to funnel $300,000 to a super PAC supporting their son. The contribution was originally listed as coming from the Glenmede Trust Company — a wealth management company that manages over $25 billion for rich folks. Unfortunately for the Sullivans, they mistakenly listed their $3 million beachside condo in Florida instead of Glenmede’s Philadelphia address on their filing. Oops. This donation is on top of the other $250,000 that Dan’s…

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Pebble Mine is Really Sorry (They Got Caught)

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These past few weeks have been bad ones for the Pebble Partnership and its attorneys. Here’s the statement issued last week by Pebble Limited Partnership, the Pebble Mines Corp. and Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens, their law firm, the defendants, and the Renewable Resources Coalition, the plaintiffs, in a long-running lawsuit. RELATED: AK Beat: Billionaire mining investor says Pebble “will not be built” The “Renewable Resources Coalition and Pebble Limited Partnership have today announced a settlement of their litigation pending in Los Angeles. In that litigation, Renewable Resources Coalition alleged that Pebble had unlawfully purchased its confidential records and information from…

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Olbermann on the NFL – FIRE EVERYONE

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Man, I miss Keith Olbermann. I know I say this often but it’s moments like this, that one really remembers the old days of MSNBC. Keith would go on a uninterrupted 5 minute rant on something that Bush or Cheney did and it would be glorious. We’d all talk about it on MySpace or on ‘the facebook,’ and then there’d be the inevitable online and print backlash from ‘respectable’ journalists who didn’t like his firebrand ways. Well most of those journalists are out of a job now or working for some think tank figuring out a way to drag us into…

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