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December 6, 2016

Alaskan Gifts for Your Lower 48 Friends… ok, and for your Alaskan ones too

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It’s Cyber Monday – the digital version of the shopping we did before the weekend when we shopped ourselves silly on Black Friday. This list of #mustbuys are all Alaskan. From nature photographers like Carl Johnson to oyster farmers, Alaska is chock full of awesome gifts to give to your friends in and out of the 49th state. This cyber Monday, support local… your friends will thank you for it. Where Water is Gold – Carl Johnson Mudflats contributor, Carl Johnson, who has been documenting the communities that would be affected Pebble Mine for years published the gorgeous Where Water is…

Thanksgiving Goes into Overtime

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I’m hoping your Thanksgiving was peaceful. I know there was a lot of anxiety about it and how the holiday season is going to go. If there was a “Thanksgiving Bingo” game I would have won after hearing the term “vaginal overreach” in a conversation. We had a lot on our plates to talk about, as well as plenty of food. I’ve been trying to figure out where the Venn diagram overlaps are between our divided camps, and concentrate on them. Our similarities aren’t always obvious. Truth be told, the idea of the president-elect succeeding in his agenda could really…

Bird of the Week – Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska

WC was in Peru earlier this month, and saw a Ruddy Turnstone there, 13° south of the equator. The bird quite possibly had flown south from Alaska. The comparatively small shorebird has a very long migration. (Actually, this bird if a bit of a puzzle. Photographed in late May, it should have been in more gaudy breeding plumage. Maybe it didn’t get the memo?) (You can see how much snappier these fellows look) Pluages issues aside, this is a tough little bird, one of the most northerly breeding species, with an epic migration. It’s holarctic, meaning it occurs in the…

America: love her when she’s right. Right her when she’s wrong.

Also at the immigration rally in NYC. Just a cool photo of some flags.

In 2006, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed his funeral because according to them ‘God Hates Gays’ more than he hates war. Albert Snyder, Matthew’s father, sued the “church” and it went through the courts. Snyder lost his case and was ordered to pay all court costs. When the ruling came down I was sitting in the radio studio and I was livid. “What the hell is wrong with this country? This isn’t justice!” My producer, Dave, just shook his head at me through the glass. We went to a break. He opened…

Driving To Alaska’s Political Madness

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My parents first came to Alaska in the ’60s, driving a red and white Volkswagen bus. They came from Virginia and like so many Alaskans, they came for one year – that was almost 50 years ago and they never left. I’m happy to report I’m making the trip they did, though by a more northerly route. It’s a bit of a shock to my Alaskan mind to drive through four states in a day without going through a foreign country. There is so much to take in on open road and border crossings. You can drive for days on…

Open Thread: The Shrimp Whisperer

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Indie Alaska, a project of Alaska Public Media has released this amazing short doc on Al Laudert and his shrimp art pieces. It’s just too fun not too watch.

Step One: Show Up in November

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In the recent Alaska primary election, there was a 15 percent turnout — a record low. Alaskans feel their voices aren’t heard. Many have lost hope. It’s easy to see why. We have a Senate President who works for ConocoPhillips and who, along with his other oil company buddies in the Legislature is refusing to fix our oil tax structure that has us paying out $700 million more in oil-tax credits than we get in production taxes. Efforts to fix our fiscal situation were violently opposed by every special interest group out there. Big mines in Alaska pay a measly…

Shame On Alaska’s Rape Kit Backlog

Photo by Department of Public Safety - Crime Lab DNA sampling

Last fall, Gov. Bill Walker requested to know the number of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers and police departments around the state. Thirty-four of the 53 police departments have yet to report their numbers. The 19 that have, including the Troopers, have reported that their inventory goes back more than 20 years and is about 3,600 untested rape kits. Unlike the bumper-sticker policies of the last administration, Walker created a Cabinet position with the specific goal of reducing sexual violence. There isn’t one fix to rid us of our rape epidemic, unless rapists all decide to stop raping, so primary prevention through…

It’s Time for Rep. Cathy Munoz to Resign – Your Letters Show Your True Self

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Originally published in ADN.com I’ve been following politics for a long time. Right out of the gate I was convinced most elected officials were geniuses for figuring out how to screw over the lowest rung on the ladder for their own benefit. That was before the FBI raided and charged 10 percent of our Legislature with taking bribes. I still think the feds missed a few. Still, after having sat through those trials, I became a believer in Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” I keep wondering about that rule while following a…

Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer

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Originally published in ADN.com I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…