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January 22, 2017

  • American Three-toed Woodpecker, Upper Chena River Valley

    Bird of the Week – American Three-toed Woodpecker

    We’ll go back to woodpeckers for a while. The American Three-toed Woodpecker is a medium-sized black-and-white woodpecker. The male has a small yellow patch on his forehead. The feet do indeed have only three toes, instead of the more common four: 2 forward and 1 backward. (The Black-backed Woodpecker has the same configuration.) The Three-toed can be a difficult bird to find. Unlike other woodpeckers, it doesn’t drill. Instead, it flakes off pieces of spruce bark to get to insects. It prefers spruce bark beetles, but is otherwise a generalist. Three-toeds will drum to establish territory, often picking a dead…

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    Around the Lens – Kicking the Press Out of the White House?

    This week Dave and Zach are joined by photographers  Paul Kelly, Stacie K. Scott. We kick around the new tech from CES, the possibly death of photo app VSCO and the Trump administration discussing moving the White House Press Corps out of the White House. You can subscribe to the Around the Lens podcast on iTunes and on Youtube.

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    Join TheMudflats for a Facebook live broadcast of my film on How Trump Stole It

    I have a simple request. I’m asking that, this Thursday, at 8pm, you join the NAACP-National Voter Fund, Rainbow/PUSH, Josh Fox  of Climate Revolution and many, many more––and “share” the Facebook LIVE broadcast of my documentary––the film that exposes exactly how Trump and his cronies attacked the voting rights of a million minority voters to steal the White House. That’s all we are asking: Between 8pm and 9pm Eastern, on Inauguration Eve, you “share” the live-stream with your Facebook followers. The film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, follows my crew’s undercover investigations…

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    The Weekend Off – News You Missed

    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…

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Creamer's Refuge, Fairbanks

    Bird of the Week – Ruby-crowned Kinglet

    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.

Headlines

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

Jan 7, 2017

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…

Photo by Zach D Roberts

The Weekend Off: News You Missed

Jan 2, 2017

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

Jan 1, 2017

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

Jan 1, 2017

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…

Brown Creeper, Cordova

Bird of the Week – Brown Creeper

Dec 31, 2016

If December 17’s Red-breasted Nuthatches usually climb down trees, Brown Creepers usually climb up. The cryptic coloration and very high-pitched vocalization on this species can make it tough to find. And populations have been greatly reduced by clear-cutting and removal of dead and dying trees, its preferred foraging area. The creeper uses its slender, decurved bill to capture invertebrates—mainly insects, spiders, and pseudoscorpions—from furrows in tree bark. It was not until 1879 that ornithologists discovered Brown Creeper’s unique habit of building a hammock-like nest behind a loosened flap of bark on a dead or dying tree. Those nests are incredibly hard to find. For more…

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Carl Johnson’s “Where Water is Gold” Book Launch Party

Dec 29, 2016

January 14th, 2017 – 6pm to 9:30pm – Taproot Book launch party for “Where Water is Gold: Life and Livelihood in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.” Presentations by Vic Fischer, Alaska Constitutional Convention Delegate, commercial fishermen, contributing writers, and photographer Carl Johnson.  [RSVP on Facebook] Join us for stories, photos, and video from people like commercial fishermen and homesteaders and enjoy a glimpse into this amazing region. Partake in some salmon from Bristol Bay! Partners in this event include the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the National Parks Conservation Association. Proceeds from the event will go toward these organization’s efforts to protect the…

presents

Taking a Break From the News

Dec 28, 2016

The last thing you want to wake up and see on Christmas morning, even more than a hunk of coal in your stocking, is the news. Let’s take a break, shall we? I mean, I’ve been writing this column for seven Christmases now, and I think we know each other well enough to share a piece of coffee cake, or gingerbread pancakes and have these things be free of politics. (Are these pancakes GMO free? Is this maple syrup sustainably harvested from gay family-owned trees? Is this coffee cake made with fair trade coffee? Let’s leave these questions behind for…

Male Hairy Woodpecker, Fairbanks

Bird of the Week – Hairy Woodpecker

Dec 24, 2016

For Christmas Eve, we’ll have a bird with a splash of Christmas color, the male Hairy Woodpecker. Only the males have red on their heads; females are just black and white. The Hairy Woodpecker is Alaska’s largest woodpecker. They are sometimes difficult to find in the forest. Tracking them down by their drumming is the usual approach. But they are enthusiastic about suet feeders, especially in the interior. Hairys dig nest cavities in trees. Looks for piles of wood chips around the base of a tree. Once the eggs hatch, the kids are noisy and the nest is pretty easy…

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Warm Your Self Around the Trumpster Fire from Lady Parts Justice League

Dec 23, 2016

The Lady Parts Justice League and Revolution Messaging has made this yule log/dumpster fire for us to all warm ourselves around before the next year brings nuclear winter. While you still have some rights left – head over to LPJL’s donation site and kick them a couple bucks to keep the fire lit. If you’re in the Twin Cities area December 30th and 31st be sure to check out Lizz Winstead’s New Years Comedy show at The Cedar. 

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The Republican Sabotage of the Vote Recounts in Michigan and Wisconsin

Dec 20, 2016

By Greg Palast for Truthout Photo of Michigan ballot with bubble. (Image courtesy of Palast Investigative Fund, 2016)Before the Electoral College votes, they should know this. Michigan officials declared in late November that Trump won the state’s count by 10,704 votes. But hold on – a record 75,355 ballots were not counted. The uncounted ballots came mostly from Detroit and Flint, majority-Black cities that vote Democratic. According to the machines that read their ballots, these voters waited in line, sometimes for hours, yet did not choose a president. Really? This week, I drove through a snowstorm to Lansing to hear…