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May 18, 2021

Giessel Loses It

by Thomas Dewar …on television. Making this fact even more stunning is that she herself paid for the air time. Oh yes, gentle reader, in Cathy Giessel’s latest bizarre ad, she gives you a stern talking to. Because who doesn’t enjoy being yelled at by the politicians we employ? Even under the best of circumstances the senator’s demeanor is one of barely contained rage and contempt, and a race she feels slipping away is far from the best of circumstances. Even her own, high-profile supporters have publicly noted that the race is surprisingly close. In order to cope with the…

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Alaska’s Accountability Moment

Some folks talk a good game about that popular notion of “accountability,” but don’t really care for the concept when it’s applied to themselves. Exhibit A: Tuesdays’s critical election, which will determine the balance of power in our state. Our state’s biggest political fight—oil taxes—is often misreported as a dispute over whether to cut taxes for multinational oil companies, and this is simply inaccurate. Both sides of the debate are open to such a tax break. The only difference, and it is a crucial one, is whether such a break is tied to the often promised increase in production, or…

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Giessel’s Education Spin (VIDEO)

  Making History As the Anchorage Daily News points out in last Sunday’s profile of a certain state senate race, a successful independent candidacy around these parts takes one back to an Alaskan icon like Jay Hammond. Running unaffiliated, without the trappings of political party infrastructure, certainly means you start out as an underdog. But it doesn’t mean you have to remain one. Combine a candidate’s work ethic—hitting thousands of doors throughout the district over the course of a year—with the fact that the majority of the district’s voters are themselves independent, and the next thing you know the race…

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Dismantling Alaska Bipartisanship

Alaska Family Action, the political arm of the Alaska Family Council, recently welcomed Governor Sean Parnell to a fundraiser. The event brought together social conservatives who seek to add their voices to those supporting the governor’s oil tax plan. With the specific goal of destroying the State Senate’s bipartisan coalition next month, the organization is banking on a new fundraising strategy and new access to personal data about voters to fuel its “Reclaiming Juneau Initiative” in November. Jim Minnery addressed the event’s roughly 25 attendees, explaining that his Alaska Family Council became frustrated by the political limitations it encountered via…

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Wasilla Candidate “Can’t Handle the Truth.”

Remember they guy from the other day who’s running for State House in Wasilla? The guy who said, “We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education.”  Remember that guy? Well, apparently House Republican candidate Mark Ewing didn’t like the fact that nobody cared for what he said after they read about it in The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, and other…

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Wasilla Candidate Says Some Children Not Worth Educating

There were some interesting revelations in a debate last week at the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce candidates forum. The debate participants were the two Republicans who will square off in the August 28 primary for State House – Lynn Gattis and Mark Ewing. Democratic candidate Blake Merrifield, the only Democrat in the race, was not invited to this event. There seemed to be few surprises – both are in favor of the Knik Arm Bridge, both are in favor of Pebble Mine, but soon Mr. Ewing distinguished himself. After talking about cutting the operating budget, he cited education as…

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Anchorage Tea Party Embraces Extremes

I decided to pop in and see what was happening over at the Anchorage Tea Party’s candidate forum Monday night, because (believe it or not) that is my idea of a good time. And also so you don’t have to go. You, after all, are a regular person and it is not your idea of a good time. As I worked my way through the drizzly parking lot, I noticed that several candidates were advertising themselves on their cars. They ranged from the “so very Alaskan” duct taped model: To the “OMG I’m a State Senator! Look at ME!” mobile:…

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“Occupy The Tundra,” Post-Fame

A few months ago, Diane McEachern’s “Occupy the Tundra” photo went viral and received national coverage from the LA Times to Salon. A resident of Bethel, Alaska, McEachern was in Anchorage on a recent visit and sat down with The Mudflats at a downtown watering hole. What is your assessment of the Occupy movement since you and your sign went viral? It kind of put the vocabulary into the public domain. Politicians are now referring to the 1 percent and 99 percent. What is it you do in Bethel, Alaska? I’m a University of Alaska professor in rural human services…

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Early Voting Starts Today, as Juneau Gets ‘Sullied.’

  In Anchorage, home to more than half of Alaska’s sparse population, it’s a big deal when legislators come to town. No matter how much an Anchorageite loves Juneau, there is still a little peevishness that our capital city isn’t accessible by road, and takes a $500 plane ticket to reach. We cherish those opportunities (like the special session that happened in Anchorage a couple years ago) when we can pull our boots on, and get involved in the public process right in our own back yard. And so, hundreds packed the Assembly chambers at the Loussac Library a couple…

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Read in China, but Banned in Tucson?

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Think of the symbols of patriotism used, and overused in politics – most notably the stars and stripes, bald eagles, and of course the Statue of Liberty who proudly claims the quote above. There are seven rays emanating from her crown – one for each continent. Technically, Lady Liberty is so all-embracing she’d welcome native Antarcticans… if there were any. I grew up close to…

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