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May 26, 2018

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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Obama is Coming…Glacier Conference!

3:38 pm:  I was in 2 press briefings, one on Arctic Resiliency and one exciting one on the Arctic Steering Committee by Dr. john Holdren and Ambassador Mark Brzezynski.  I asked a question about food insecurity and the lengthening growing season.  Good answers.  The videos will be up later.  Jeannie is here now so she went to a briefing.  Then, we’ll both get placed for the President’s speech in about a half hour!!! 12:48 pm:  waiting for the first press briefing to happen in about 20 minutes with Fran Ulmer and other members of the Committee on Arctic Resiliance. 10:45…

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Court Sees Value in Protecting Bristol Bay

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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Sullivan Goes ‘Fog of War,’ Then Flees

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

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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Walking With the Ghosts of Exxon

It’s 5 a.m. on the 4th of July, and the alarm goes off. I open one eye and think surely I must have set it for the wrong time, but then I remember. Today I’m heading to Prince William Sound with Shannyn Moore and Zach Roberts. Our goal is to document the lingering effects of oil, still present in the Sound after the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in the spring of 1989. It’s 2010, and a child born then would be 21 years old now. It’s hard to believe. I was not in Alaska back then. I,…

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Parnell to Choose New Dem Rep.

Beth Kerttula, Democratic House Minority Leader from Juneau, has stepped down to accepted a position as a visiting fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford, which began Feb. 3, leaving a hole in the legislature. Last time something like this happened, it was Sen. Kim Elton of Juneau who departed to take a new job in Washington D.C. That move set off a Kavalcade of Krazy™ in which then Governor Sarah Palin attempted to install a Republican who “didnt realize he was a Republican” ‘to fill the Democratic seat. Then a Democrat who’d just become a Democrat weeks before…

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Shell Suspends Arctic Drilling, Begich Responds.

This morning Shell announced that it will not drill offshore in the Alaskan Arctic this year. The announcement comes after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal agency in charge of issuing permits for offshore drilling in the U.S. intentionally downplayed the risks and impacts associated with drilling in the remote and vulnerable Chukchi Sea ecosystem off the northern coast of Alaska. The court ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) failed to conduct adequate impact assessments before issuing permission to drill. According to the findings of the court, the BOEM “based its decision on inadequate…

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Parnell: Progressive Activist of the Year

We’re coming to the close of 2013, and top 10 lists are coming out of our ears. Top movies, albums, people (The pope! Time’s Person of the Year!). We seem to feel compelled to wrap up our year in nice little boxes. I have my own list I’d like to trot out. Hang on just a minute. Last week the governor released state revenue projections and his budget. His projections are based on the information oil companies give the state about how much of that sweet oil they plan to send down the pipeline. The administration takes those numbers and…

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Melting Good; Feds Bad

So, insane flesh-eating bacteria is tied to BP spill tar balls, Fukushima radiation should be hitting the West Coast in the next year or so, and a SuperTyphoon that is perhaps the strongest storm EVER,  just made landfall in the Philippines. So, last night I decided to go out and listen to a Republican Senate candidate bloviate about how federal overreach is destroying the country. SPOILER ALERT: This ends with drinking. Mead Treadwell, Alaska’s Lt. Governor, who in that capacity oversees elections, is running for U.S. Senate. Any time a Lt. Governor runs for something in the state (like Current…

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