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May 18, 2021

Mayor Misrepresents Student Performance

I look forward each week to Sunday’s Alaska Ear column in the Anchorage Daily News, as penned by formerly-anonymous reporter Sheila Toomey. For many years I considered it purely entertainment, until I got involved with the fetid swamp known as Alaska politics. It was then that I discovered the accuracy of The Omnicient Oriface’s information. So it was with great interest that I read this tidbit from Sunday’s column: “. . A couple of weeks ago earwigs reported our new school superintendent, Jim Browder, walked out in protest while Mayor Sullivan made a presentation at some big public meeting. The…

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Legislature Cuts the Brake Lines

A friend of mine just returned from Juneau. “Shanny, it’s a scary ride down there. The wheels are still on the bus, but the brake lines have been cut.” Elections have consequences, and the result of November’s vote put us all on the same ride. There are multiple bills introduced this session, written up by Outside think tanks funded by John Bircher millionaires. So, besides the lack of brakes, the people driving the bus are under the influence of much more intoxicating influences than their constituents. Now it would seem the bus has decided to go off road and take…

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GOP Opens Can of Education Worms

If you’ve been in Alaska long, you’ve noticed changes. Oh, I don’t mean buildings toppling into the sea or the permafrost forgetting what “perma” means. We seem less tolerant of each other the easier life here becomes. But with the news coming out of Juneau, we may be back on a track to tolerance. Some of the current legislative proposals could really expand Alaska’s cultural and religious diversity! It’s exciting! Republican Rep. Wes Keller has proposed changing Alaska’s Constitution to allow public money to fund private schools. I’m guessing Rep. Keller hasn’t read the notes of Alaska’s constitutional convention delegates’…

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Government Funding for Mat-Su Madrassa?

That’s what the Christian Conservatives are pushing for this legislative session, even if they’re too obtuse to know it. Chalk up another one to the Constitutionalists of Convenience – you know, conservatives who squawk and flap about libruls and leftists who want to “shred the Constitution,” and then turn around and fire up the shredding machine for the very document they purport to love. The fair-weather founding father fans now have their sights on one of the hallmarks of the Alaska Constitution – public education. The Alaska Constitution specifically prohibits using public money to fund religious schools. It’s quite clear….

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Accidents Happen

We’ve all done stupid things without thinking about it. I drove off once with two fresh pizzas from the Moose’s Tooth Restaurant on the roof of my car.  I figure they blew off somewhere on the Seward Highway just south of Tudor Road. So, if you had a flying, steaming 16-inch disc of cajun halibut goodness slap down in the middle of your windshield a couple years ago, it’s my fault. Then there was the guy who absentmindedly left his Stradivarius violin, worth $4 million, in the back of a Newark cab. Even when there’s a lot at stake, we humans…

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“North to the Future,” Indeed

Young people who aspire to—and make the requisite grades for—being a doctor or attorney tend not to be poorly performing students. To the contrary, these tend to be ambitious, achievement oriented pupils. So what does it say about a state which forces them to leave in order to pursue their goals? The phrase “mother of all brain drains” may cross your mind at this point. And yet, that’s precisely the situation in which Alaska finds itself as one of only six states without a medical school and the only state without a law school. Much lip service is paid to…

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2012 Parting Shots

If you live in the Lower 48, you may be under the illusion that your state knows how to do “trashy” and “no way—that’s not for real!” It doesn’t. Not compared to Alaska. So sit back with some popcorn and check out the pros. Parenting Fail If you’re going to engage your own son in LSD-fueled hand-to-hand combat in the street over a woman (!), at least don’t do it in the nude. In Spenard, that makes you such a cliché. Poor Kids Get Baked Speaking of excessive nudity, House Finance Co-Chair Bill Stoltze refused to allow a vote on…

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Laptops of Love!

Are you looking for a way to help kids that will fill you with the spirit of Christmas? Yes, you are. Today Rep. Les Gara and the foster care group, Facing Foster Care In Alaska (FFCA), are launching the third annual Laptops for Foster Youth Holiday Drive.  Over the past two years this drive has resulted in approximately 200 matches for youth in Alaska!  “Laptops are crucial to helping youth improve their chances of success in school, and establishing normalcy in very disrupted lives of youth who often have very few material possessions,” said Gara, a former foster youth whose father was killed…

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GOP Lineup Goes Byzantine

The shakeup in the Alaska GOP continues. Our three party system (Dems, Republicans, and Tea Partiers) is going “byzantine,” according to the Alaska Ear. Yes, it’s inside baseball, but that’s really the only baseball that counts. The powerful finance committee is where bills go to live or die, and it seems like a couple of entrenched GOPpers find themselves on the outside looking in – or potentially so. Bill Thomas (R) who was assumed to be a fixture in said committee, finds himself suddenly in a race for relevancy with the awesome, out-of-nowhere Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins. Their race, as you…

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Jesus Gets Punked by Exxon

Election day may be over here in Alaska, but now is when the fun begins. The results of a couple close races are hinging on absentee and questioned ballots yet to be examined, and shiny new lawmakers are angling for committee assignments and chairmanships. Pundits, meanwhile, examine and expound upon the results of the Citizens United meets Big Oil meets Jesus campaign machine. Let me be one of them. During this time, it’s good to remember the lessons of the past. The genius of Ronald Reagan was his ability to unite two completely different groups of people—with completely different policy…

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