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May 18, 2021

Begich – “If you’re pro-choice, you’re pro-choice.”

“There is no middle ground,” says Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich when asked about his firm pro-choice stance. “I’ve never run from these issues. I can’t speak for other Democrats, I just know where I’m at. These are not issues that I run from. People know where I stand.” That might not be a controversial position for a Democrat in California, or New York, but in a state that’s voted for a Republican president every cycle since the Johnson administration, it sounds like a risk. Alaska carries a mere 3 electoral votes, and with the notable exception of a certain VP nominee…

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Reefer Madness Comes to Alaska

I knew immediately this debate was going to be contentious. I was sitting on the left side of the auditorium when the woman next to me popped out of her seat like a Jack in the box. “I’m moving!” she said. “The legals are on this side, and the illegals are on the other side. I’m going to sit with the illegals!” “I’m going to sit with the illegals” isn’t a sentence you hear very much these days. I’m a “legal” for a number of reasons, and I wanted to explain to my former neighbor that this wasn’t like a wedding with…

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Alaska GOP Candidates Go to Extremes

We all know that guy. You know, the one who no matter what story is being told, he’s got one up on it. If you got a mosquito bite he punched a bear. I’m watching the Republican primary for U.S. Senate closely and they all seem like that guy. Who can out-crazy whom? Case in point this week was the questionnaire filled out by the candidates for an organization that raises money on hating gays and trying to control the reproductive choices of women. The group claims to work for Alaskan family values but doesn’t weigh in on minimum wage…

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Show Me Your Budget

Show me a political flyer in Alaska and I’ll show you a candidate whose only reason for living is supporting the Permanent Fund and education, and fighting “government waste.” There’s an old saying, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” This week we got to see what the Republican majority in the Alaska Senate values. Rest assured, their budget, written by Sen. Pete Kelly, does not value birth control for irresponsible women. In fact, amendments to accept millions in federal funds for family planning — to actually reduce abortions —…

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Exxon Valdez – Lessons Learned & Lost

In recognition of today’s 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska (March 24), this seems a good time to reflect on lessons learned, and lessons lost. 1. Oil spill “cleanup” is a myth: Once oil has spilled, the battle is lost — it is impossible to effectively contain, recover, and cleanup. Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than 7 percent. BP spent $14 billiontrying to clean up its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and although they collected some at the wellhead, burned and dispersed some (with toxic chemicals), it recovered only 3 percent from the sea…

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GOP Senator – Birth Control Irresponsible

I had a plan to write a column that was going to make the Anchorage municipal elections coming up to be the sexiest most riveting thing you’ve ever read. Then someone did something stupid in Juneau, so you’ll have to wait a week while I sort this doofus out. First, the reporting on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders from Kyle Hopkins and Marc Lester for the Anchorage Daily News has been incredible. Disturbing, and incredibly needed. Two percent of children born in Alaska have FASD. We need solutions and education. Sadly, we have a “think tank” formed by Sen. Pete Kelly…

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Contraception’s Bang for the Buck

JUNEAU, AK—Opposition to abortion rights has been the political hallmark of Alaska State Senator Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River). He is also, as these ironies invariably go, opposed to expanding contraceptive access. “By and large, sexual activity is recreation,” the senator intoned today during floor debate on SB49. “The state shouldn’t finance other people’s recreation.” Does the senator favor elimination of all state parks? What of the Department of Fish & Game—some of which relates to subsistence, but which also serves recreational endeavors? Is he aware that it is public, state-financed roads taking us to our state’s ski resorts, or does he imagine…

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Parnell, Murkowski & West Virginia

Pop Moore was born and raised in West Virginia. I’m proud of our family heritage in a state that includes the original Rednecks in the Battle for Blair Mountain. That’s where my grandfather fought to unionize the coal mines after getting buried in a slide. When I was growing up, we’d go visit my grandmother in a tiny town in Boone County. It was humid and friendly. Tomatoes from the garden tasted delicious, and the people talked funny. The center of town was the yellow line that ran through it. I loved sitting on the porch swing listening to stories….

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Parnell Rejects Healthcare Expansion

I spoke with several folks this week about what they expected Gov. Sean Parnell to do with his opportunity to expand Medicaid for Alaskans. Only one thought he would turn it down. Everyone else seemed to think he’d heed the plea of the chambers of commerce to support an expansion. The chamber isn’t exactly a communist cell, so I thought maybe its voice could reach the ear of our oil lobbyist-turned-oil politician. When Republican Gov. Jan Brewer accepted the expansion for Arizona, she attributed it to her ability to “weigh the evidence and do the math.” Surely, I thought, Parnell…

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Melting Good; Feds Bad

So, insane flesh-eating bacteria is tied to BP spill tar balls, Fukushima radiation should be hitting the West Coast in the next year or so, and a SuperTyphoon that is perhaps the strongest storm EVER,  just made landfall in the Philippines. So, last night I decided to go out and listen to a Republican Senate candidate bloviate about how federal overreach is destroying the country. SPOILER ALERT: This ends with drinking. Mead Treadwell, Alaska’s Lt. Governor, who in that capacity oversees elections, is running for U.S. Senate. Any time a Lt. Governor runs for something in the state (like Current…

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