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March 29, 2017

From ObamaCare to Trump Don’t Care

copyright Zach D Roberts

Well, it’s a brand new day for my white Alaska friends who have been under the oppressive regime of “Obamacare,” otherwise know as the Affordable Care Act. Finally, after promising for seven years to repeal and replace it, congressional Republicans have introduced Trumpcare as a solution. Included in the pushback is the 10 percent tax on tanning beds. As a person of such blinding whiteness this time of year, I feel liberated. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that just this change will cost $600 million over the next 10 years. For those of us who nerd out and actually read bills,…

ATL Chats w/ Alaskan Photog Carl Johnson

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This week we try something different. This week we’re going to spend out time interviewing just on panelists. This will be the beginning of a new interview series we’re trying out. For the first interview episode we talk to Alaskan nature photographer Carl Johnson. He’s been working on a long term book project Where Water Is Gold about the area would be effected by the creation of the Pebble Mine. A mine that would wipe out a shocking percentage of the worlds pacific salmon. That’s the kind of salmon that you actually want to eat. You can check out Carl’s stunning aurora photos and all his…

EPA, Pebble and The West Wing

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I’m sorry to report that watching box sets of “The West Wing” isn’t enough distraction from our real politics. I am tired. I can confirm a fresh batch of baby sea otters, riding on their mama’s bellies, blown in by the latest storm can provide some relief. Their cuteness is enough to make anyone ovulate – I don’t care who you are. Their squeaks and mewing are impossible to ignore. I learned about something called “embryonic diapause.” It’s really fascinating and a little science-y. See, lady sea otters can get pregnant and put a pause on implanting the embryos for…

Let It Be… Resolved.

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The good news is baseball is back on the radio. Hearing the familiar voices calling plays of players I like so much I named a boat after one of them has been a healing balm after months of political coverage. The league has a new rule — it no longer requires four pitches to intentionally walk a player to first — you can just wave them there now. I don’t like it. Those pitches should count, but it’s all about making the game faster. The whole point of baseball is that it takes time. If this were the only major…

Calling the Mosquito Fleet

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My darling Alaskans, I am starting to feel like these columns I write are more like letters to the people and place I love. It is blowing sideways on the bay today and the snow, defying gravity and all rules, seems to be traveling upward while accumulating on the ground at the same time. My ermine friend is shrew hunting — which is my favorite thing about him — and has learned to do a trick or two for cheese bits. I’m watching with one eye the mushers vie for position in the Yukon Quest and with the other, the…

Storm on the Horizon

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I said last week I would try to focus more on affairs of the state, you know, because the whole world has seemingly lost their collective minds. I’ve spent some time watching Gavel to Gavel and listening to assembly meetings so you don’t have to. It may seem like a small thing to many of you, but clearly you haven’t spent an hour screaming at your computer because of local political antics. You’re welcome. Pro tip: Be careful if you’re playing a drinking game that requires a shot when the words “body” or “member” are said. In the big square…

Make Alaska Great Again

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Maybe you were too busy this week trying to stay warm to follow the news much. There have been some new developments. I know. They almost got past me, you know with keeping the snow shoveled out of the outhouse and enough water melted to do a few dishes. I’m trying hard to keep up. A major oil discovery was announced this week! Wahoo! “Initial technical estimates indicate the discovery could have recoverable resource potential in excess of 300 million barrels of oil,” ConocoPhillips said. That’s awesome for all of Alaska, right? I mean, jobs, jobs, jobs and we can…

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

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Alaska Alaska Public Media: Alaska’s warming waters could slow coral growth, impacting fish The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said warming ocean temperatures, due to climate change, could slow the growth of some Alaska coral. In a study released Thursday, scientists warned about the potential impact to fish, which take refuge in thickets of coral. NY Times: A Rampage in Florida Shines a Light on Alaska A deadly shooting rampage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport this month has focused attention on the interconnection of public safety and mental illness and raised questions, especially here in Alaska, about one of the thorniest…

For Good or Bad, Juneau Still Represents You

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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…

The Weekend Off: News You Missed

Photo by Zach D Roberts

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…