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July 23, 2014

Critical Oil Tax Debate Wednesday!

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As we wind up to the primary and general election, Alaska Common Ground is sponsoring a must-attend series of forum discussions on four ballot measures. The first in the series is coming up, so clear your evening Wednesday night and see both sides discuss the upcoming oil tax referendum – Ballot Measure 1 (SB21). Forum on the Oil Tax Referendum (SB 21) Wednesday, July 23, 7-9 pm Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library Moderator Gunnar Knapp is Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage and a Professor of Economics at UAA. He has…

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Warren’s 11 Progressive Values for Netroots Nation

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DETROIT, MI – Detroit’s Democratic Congressman Gary Peters who is running for the United States Senate addressed a packed house at the Netroots Nation convention in his home city on Friday. “I know the power you have to blog, to communicate to tell stories,” he said. “There are many wonderful stories about Detroit, and the wonderful people who make up this city, and the spirit that they have. Tell about how they have been through some very tough times, but they work hard. And if they work hard they should get a fair shot. And if they get a fair…

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The Oily Facts on Prop 1

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By Peter Blanas Alaskans understand that oil is the economic cornerstone of our state. Alaskans are right to be concerned, that we have a healthy and productive oil and support industry. It’s also understood that the extraction of oil in the Arctic, is very difficult and expensive, and should come with a good return on investment. We want the industry to earn a healthy profit, along with Alaska, the resource owner. First, a look backward: Oil began flowing down the pipeline from the North Slope in 1977. Daily production peaked in 1988, at just over 2 million barrels a day,…

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Palin Slams GOP Successor in Alaska

"Try to not bankrupt the state like you bankrupted your campaign. Now kiss the ring."

Hey, Alaska! Sarah Palin is back. She left our state’s politics in the dust after quitting office in 2009, but yesterday she returned to her favorite local media platform—The Bob & Mark Radio Show—to slam her successor and one-time Lt. Governor, Republican Sean Parnell. The bone she had to pick with him relates to her signature legislation as governor, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES). The oil tax system that ushered Alaska’s bank account into golden days of plenty, with a savings of more than $17 billion, ACES funded subsequent investments in roads, schools, and critical infrastructure projects. Under ACES,…

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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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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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Walking With the Ghosts of Exxon

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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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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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Democratic Frontier: Q&A with the State Party Chair

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With the governorship, a US senate seat, our lone Congressional seat, and SB 21 repeal all on the statewide ballot, 2014 is a critical election year in Alaska. Given recent gerrymandering and the influx of outside political money, the state represents significant challenges for Democrats. The Mudflats spoke with Democratic Party Chair Mike Wenstrup about the state of the state, his party, and its future. Alaska doesn’t seem to be a very hospitable place for Democrats these days, so what compelled you to want to run the state party? Alaska values are Democratic values: Respect for personal privacy, government restraint, maximizing public benefits…

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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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