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May 25, 2016

Time To Clean Up The SB21 Cash Spill


About a decade ago I had a conversation with someone I had voted for. I wasn’t real happy with his broken campaign promises, and, I realize this may be a shocker, but I let my disappointment be known. I think Pop Moore describes me as “subtle like a chainsaw.” I don’t know what I was expecting, but here was the response, “Sometimes you have to let go of your principles and ideals.” I’ve been rolling that around in my head ever since. I realize you and I have the luxury of our “principles and ideals” while watching both the local…

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NRA Chooses Trump – Photos from the Convention Floor

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This year TheMudflats returned to the NRA with a much smaller crew, namely just me. Unlike in 2015 when nearly every single one of the Republican primary candidates made a speech this time  there was only one big name at the show – The Donald. The presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party took to the stage with a standing ovation from a crowd of thousands of gun lovers that packed the Freedom Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The somewhat non-surprise surprise was that the National Rifle Association was to endorse Mr. Trump. National Rifle Association executive director Chris W. Cox with…

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Bird of the Week – Merlin

Merlin, Denali Highway

Here’s another falcon, slightly smaller than last week’s Peregrine Falcon. The Merlin is a remarkably fierce predator; WC has watched them kill and fly off with birds as large as a Lesser Yellowlegs. An adult female Merlin weighs  about 8.5 ounces; a Lesser Yellowlegs weighs about 3 ounces. That’s 40% of the Merlin’s weight. Merlins seem to prefer open and semi-open areas, nesting on the edges of fields or swamps. Their primary prey is small (and not so small) birds. Alaska’s Merlins are all migratory; the winter from the Southwestern U.S. down to Central America. They breed across Alaska, but…

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Crony Capitalism is the Norm In Juneau


The debate in Juneau over oil tax credits has captured the attention of most Alaskans by now. Alaska is paying out over $700 million more in oil tax credits than we get in production taxes. This arrangement where we pay more in tax credits than we get in production taxes is projected to last until 2025. But below the surface lies a much deeper debate over the fundamental nature of capitalism in our society. Capitalism is generally defined as an economic system where private individuals control the means of production for their own profit. A danger of capitalism has always been when…

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Bird of the Week – Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon, Tanana Lakes, Fairbanks

It’s hard not to like the Peregrine Falcon. In many ways, it is the poster child for the environmental movement. The species was nearly extirpated by DDT and other environmental contaminants. The populations have recovered and adapted to humankind to some extent. It’s not at all unusual to see Peregrines nesting on skyscrapers in big cities, feeding on pigeons. But the Peregine is wholly admirable in its own right. A cosmopolitan bird, it can be found in deserts, swamps, alpine reasons and agricultural area.   WC has seen Peregrines in almost all Alaska habitats. It’s a champion flier, with some birds…

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Open Thread: Hear Me Roar!

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Chugach Pearl Roar Katy Perry from rachaelburks on Vimeo.

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Blood Sport Politics is Bringing Us All Down


I’ve always had a thing about grouchy old men. Most of them happen to be conservative. It might be because of a few favorite uncles, and friends of my pop. Even in politics, I’ve been moved by more conservatives than liberals — you could attribute this to the vastly outnumbered progressives in our state, but I think there’s more to it. They are a challenge to charm and usually make for more interesting conversation. (Oh, there are exceptions. For example, the new chair for the Alaska for Trump campaign.) I recently met an antique stove savant. He knows more about…

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Bird of the Week – Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier with Prey, Donnelly Training Area, Ft. Greely, Alaska

There’s still a few Alaska raptors to have a look at. This week it’s the Northern Harrier, formerly known as the Marsh Hawk. This is how you will most often see a Harrier, flying low over an open field or swamp, rocking back and forth a bit, head turned down, looking for prey. Northern Harriers hunt a wide range of prey, mainly small- and medium-sized mammals and birds, coursing low and buoyantly over the ground. Unlike other hawks, the Harrier frequently relies heavily on auditory cues, as well as visual ones, to capture prey. Annual breeding numbers and productivity are strongly influenced by…

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“Who Is Kris Kobach?” Greg Palast with Dennis Bernstein


Week two of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy Podcast with Greg Palast and Dennis Bernstein. Bringing you all the news that you need on election protection. This week Palast and Bernstein discuss the man behind Voter ID, SB1070 and the Crosscheck Voter Suppression Program – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Listen in.  Dennis Bernstein: Welcome back to our weekly Election Protection Bulletin with best-selling author Greg Palast. Let’s start in Topeka, Kansas with its Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He’s definitely going head to head with the ACLU there. Greg Palast: Kris Kobach is spelled like Koch with a…

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Panel Discussion: Hydraulic Fracturing in Cook Inlet


What: Panel Discussion: Hydraulic Fracturing in Cook Inlet From the Cook Inletkeeper Where: Islands and Ocean Center, 95 Sterling Hwy, Homer, AK 99603 When: Tuesday, May 17th from 6:30-9:00pm Join us for a panel discussion on Tuesday, May 17th from 6:30-9:00pm at the Islands and Ocean Center. BlueCrest Energy’s plans to conduct offshore fracking operations north of Anchor Point have prompted widespread community concern. In response, Cook Inletkeeper will moderate a panel discussion with various agency, industry and NGO experts to provide details on the proposed operations, and to give local residents opportunities to pose questions and get answers. For more info contact…

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