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April 21, 2014

Show Me Your Budget

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Show me a political flyer in Alaska and I’ll show you a candidate whose only reason for living is supporting the Permanent Fund and education, and fighting “government waste.” There’s an old saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” This week we got to see what the Republican majority in the Alaska Senate values. Rest assured, their budget, written by Sen. Pete Kelly, does not value birth control for irresponsible women. In fact, amendments to accept millions in federal funds for family planning — to actually reduce abortions —…

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The Floodgates are Open

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This week I listened to one of the right-wing sock puppets yammer on about what a victory for freedom the most recent campaign finance court decision was. Honestly. The guy was more about “free and dumb” than freedom. The court, in yet another 5-4 decision, basically created eBay for elections. What we didn’t need was more stinking money in our election process but the five say otherwise. Freedom of speech is now equated with how much money you have and are willing to spend. Of course, the reverse doesn’t work. You can’t walk into a store and purchase items with…

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GOP Leader Threatens Sexual Assault Council

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Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) is throwing rape victims under the train to get the governor’s out-of-state buddy on an Alaska gasline board. You’ve got to hand it to him; the lengths to which he will go to demonstrate his lack of common decency are not half-assed. In a state where 37 percent of women report having experienced sexual violence, and where rape statistics are three times the national average, Mike Chenault proves that for those like himself, there are more important things. Like getting the governor’s Texas buddy on the gasline board. The premise of Chenault’s latest legislative…

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Bus Fares & Propaganda

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A political brochure sent to East Anchorage voters caught the attention and ire of some veterans just days before the Anchorage Assembly race. The race in East Anchorage for Assembly has three very visible candidates: Mao Tosi, a former NFL player; Pete Petersen, a former state legislator; and Adam Trombley, the Assembly incumbent. Understandably, Petersen has the strongest name recognition. Clearly, it’s a hot race. When it comes to campaigns for office, every tactic possible will likely be used – good or bad. Introduce Political Action Committees (PACs), and the plot thickens. For the voter, it’s not easy to determine…

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Christie is the New Palin

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In Alaska, there have lately been many comparisons of Governor Chris Christie to Alaska ex-half-governor Sarah Palin. To wit: a close circle of micromanaged advisors from whom utter loyalty is demanded; an open abhorrence of the press when they pull outrageous stunts like asking questions; a certain tone deaf quality and tendency to double down when bad behavior is called out; wielding the power of the office in full force political payback; and a complete lack of hesitation to throw anyone and everyone under the bus to save one’s own very thin skin. And come on – the Bridges and…

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Exxon Valdez – Lessons Learned & Lost

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 15 Years Later

In recognition of today’s 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska (March 24), this seems a good time to reflect on lessons learned, and lessons lost. 1. Oil spill “cleanup” is a myth: Once oil has spilled, the battle is lost — it is impossible to effectively contain, recover, and cleanup. Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than 7 percent. BP spent $14 billiontrying to clean up its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and although they collected some at the wellhead, burned and dispersed some (with toxic chemicals), it recovered only 3 percent from the sea…

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White Power, Blue Uniform

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“Black people are so disgusting.” When gawking in horror at the internet’s racist underbelly during a bout with insomnia, one comes across jarring pronouncements like that one.  The comment was one among a long list of similar sentiments under a Facebook meme denouncing biracial relationships. “Who says something like that in the year 2014?” I wondered while clicking through to the commenter’s profile. Well, it turns out US Army Police Officer (!) Troy Roberts of Ft. Stewart, Georgia does. He’s a big fan of a Facebook page called American White History Month, publisher of the now-removed meme. Roberts’ stated employer…

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(UPDATE) Parnell’s California Dream

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UPDATE: Gov. Parnell’s illegal appointment has “withdrawn his own name,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. “A state law says board and commission nominees must be registered Alaska voters. Mandell told the Daily News he had not lived in Alaska since 1995. Parnell continued to back him, saying the Alaska Constitution required only that nominees be U.S. citizens.” Apparently the quaint notion that we have to follow state law is beyond the governor’s scope. If only he had some basic legal training. Oh, wait. ************************************** $2 billion a year is not enough. Sure they’re the wealthiest entities ever to have existed…

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Parnell Stacks the Deck for Oil. Again.

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The muck-raking writer Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” He wrote that after running for governor in 1934. It would seem the business of politics was even more messy than the meat packing industry he exposed. I’d go a bit further than Sinclair. It’s difficult for someone to continue getting a salary if he does understand some things and still acts on them. It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll give you the skinny. Most of us are familiar with the…

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Ma’o Tosi: Pattern of Poor Judgment

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******UPDATE FEB 20th 11:55 PM****** Yesterday, Ma’o Tosi appeared on Dave Stieren’s KFQD radio show. During the course of the interview, Stieren asked him about his tax issues. Tosi assured him everything was fine: “…Our CPA has filed the extensions for our taxes within the non-profit so those aren’t issues as far as filing…” Really? When LKB spoke to Mrs. Somebody at the IRS (after being on hold seemingly forever) she was very thorough in questioning her about “extensions” and the rules involving 990s. According to the IRS: A) A non-profit’s 990 is due the 15th day of the 5th…

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