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July 23, 2018

Bird of the Week – Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Creamer's Refuge, Fairbanks

The smallest songbird in the New World boreal forest is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The red spot on the species’ head is only present in males and even then not all the time. Even ithout the red spot, the broken white eye ring, two white wingbars and incredible hyperactivity make this a pretty easy bird to identify in the field. If you can keep your binoculars on it as it frenetically jumps around. For a tiny bird, this little kinglet has an amazingly loud and long song. It’s a wonderful sign of spring. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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For Good or Bad, Juneau Still Represents You

Well, my darling Alaskans, we’ve made it through the holiday season and now a real cause for celebration is upon us – the 2017 legislative session! I know, after so many “special sessions” it’s hard to really feel like this one will be special without the title, but we can all hope. I’m encouraged by the newly formed House bipartisan coalition. You know, the grown-ups in Juneau, working together to work for all of us. What a concept. In reading through the prefiled bills, I’m reminded of the old quote about paving roads with good intentions. Truth be told, with…

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Still ‘Je suis Charlie’ Two Years On

[Editors (Zach) note: This was originally posted on Sarah’s facebook page and she thankfully allowed me to share it with you. Sarah is a human rights lawyer based in Paris and London. You can read her piece on Erik Prince’s plan for the refugee crisis in Europe here.]  Those who knew and/or followed me then remember how difficult that day was for me; some have ended friendships over it, some have started one, some have disagreed but respected my grief. I was present on the scene and I have lost friends. I have lost journalists. I have peered across the…

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Sen. Murkowski, Stand True To Your Word

Many of us are counting the days down for America to be great again. I still haven’t heard an answer to the question of when it stopped being great, but being great sounds, well, great! So let’s do it. First things first. We have got to get rid of that health care disaster that has enslaved millions of Americans by creating access to a doctor. Enough! Because of Obamacare, college-age kids have been rafted up to their parents’ policies like parasites. Those pre-existing conditions — the warning flags to companies that don’t want your sick behind dragging down their profits…

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Luke Skywalker aka Mark Hamill Voices the Donald

Yesterday, Mark Hamill, known best for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films recorded himself reading one of President Elect Donald Trumps tweets. While he’s most famous as a Jedi, he also has voiced the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series (among others) – it was this character surprisingly that Hamill chose to read the Donald’s tweet in. Based on the fact that the tweet read “The Trumpster quote #1 #ANewJeersToast” we can only assume that there will be more.   The Trumpster quote #1#ANewJeersToast https://t.co/qZQEGU18r6 — Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 8, 2017  

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Bird of the Week – Canvasback

Canvasback, Airport Ponds, Fairbanks

Back when WC was working through waterfowl earlier in this series, he overlooked an uncommon but widely distributed duck, the Canvasback. The bird is hard to overlook; the drake’s red eye and canvas-white back are very distinctive. It’s also the largest of the diving ducks. The very long bill is equally distinctive; only the Northern Shoveler has a bigger bill. The Canvasback is closely related to and can hybridize with the somewhat similar Redhead. Which also occurs in Alaska but, alas, WC doesn’t have an Alaska photo of the species. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Blackwater’s Erik Prince Has a Solution for the Refugee Crisis

The last thing the refugee crisis needs is Erik Prince. Last we heard from Erik Prince, he had set up sail for the new shores of Abu Dhabi, away from pesky congressional hearings about unlawful killings in Iraq, and close to the security-laden borderlands of the Horn of Africa. His new venture, Frontier Services Group, provides logistical and material support in conflict zones as well as aid delivery. We’d like to seize the opportunity of a new year to wish the former Blackwater CEO the best in his new endeavours. In an opinion-piece penned for the respectable Financial Times, the…

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The Weekend Off: News You Missed

Alaska ADN.com – Anchorage’s deadly year: With 34 homicide victims, violence hits home In 2016, some 34 people were killed by homicide in Anchorage. For many, it was the year the city’s violence hit home, even if they didn’t personally know any of the victims. The killings happened in nearly every corner of Anchorage: from an Eagle River apartment complex to Kempton Hills, a south-side subdivision best known for its great trick or treating and community wide garage sale. KTUU – Latest chapter in the opioid epidemic hits Alaska For the first time a powerful synthetic opioid, disguised as oxycodone has…

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Charlie Brooker’s 2016 News Wipe

Every year Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker gives us a news summary program called “News Wipe.” News Wipe is a a take on the years news, it’s along the lines of The Daily Show, except it’s funnier. This year filled with celebrity deaths, terror attacks and the rise of the populist right across the Western world made it a bit more difficult to find humor but Brooker found a way. There will no doubt be some news that you don’t recognize as it’s British but by the end of the hour, I promise you’ll understand.

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Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

via GIPHY There have been plenty of years that people wanted to show the door, but 2016 seems to be in a class of its own. During a holiday gathering, friends and family chatted about the years events and the eldest attendee said, “Well, I’m sure other ’16 years were worse.” Looking it up was an attempt to make myself feel better. I’m ready to close out this miserable year. My best friend died and my country is beating the door down to fascism. I’m ready to get a restraining order against cancer. There’s a petition online asking for 2016…

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