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May 26, 2017

Oil First, Kids Second

I suppose the saying “dance with the one who brought you” should be changed. “Dance with the one who bought you” is more apropos when watching the Republican Senate majority in Juneau. This week 13 lawmakers voted to drain every single dime out of the statutory budget reserve — also known as our savings account — to pay oil companies more money than the suggested maximum amount. Why? Well, it’s not really a very well-kept secret that come election time their coffers are stuffed from oily folks to make sure our rainy day funds will make the “transfer of wealth”…

Easter in Homer: “Isn’t that how we all should feel?”

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This is a holy week for many. I like the years when Passover and Easter fall on the same week. For whatever reasons we gather together with family or our friends — who are the family we choose. I thought it was a good time to resurrect one of my favorite Easter stories. I grew up with Easters. The full-meal deals. Flowered hats and new dresses; I remember a particular gray gingham with lace. It was a bit “Little House On The Prairie” but I kind of liked that. The Little House On The Muskeg was where I lived. Easter…

If McConnell wanted Dan Sullivan to have principles, he’d give him some.

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It’s no secret that I hold Alaska’s junior senator, Dan Sullivan, in low esteem. It’s a low esteem he has earned. For one thing, he’s a carpetbagger. Alaska was just a convenient horse for his raging ambition. He’s a political mercenary. I cannot understand the “charm” some Alaskans seem to see in him. If Dan cares about anything, it’s the elevation of Dan. Suffice it to say, my opinion of the junior senator was so low he needed to dig a hole to go lower. But this week, Sullivan, Mitch McConnell’s Mini-Me, broke out his shovel. Turns out he’s a…

From ObamaCare to Trump Don’t Care

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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…