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June 15, 2021

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Step One: Show Up in November

In the recent Alaska primary election, there was a 15 percent turnout — a record low. Alaskans feel their voices aren’t heard. Many have lost hope. It’s easy to see why. We have a Senate President who works for ConocoPhillips and who, along with his other oil company buddies in the Legislature is refusing to fix our oil tax structure that has us paying out $700 million more in oil-tax credits than we get in production taxes. Efforts to fix our fiscal situation were violently opposed by every special interest group out there. Big mines in Alaska pay a measly…

It’s Time for Rep. Cathy Munoz to Resign – Your Letters Show Your True Self

Originally published in ADN.com I’ve been following politics for a long time. Right out of the gate I was convinced most elected officials were geniuses for figuring out how to screw over the lowest rung on the ladder for their own benefit. That was before the FBI raided and charged 10 percent of our Legislature with taking bribes. I still think the feds missed a few. Still, after having sat through those trials, I became a believer in Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” I keep wondering about that rule while following a…

Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer

Originally published in ADN.com I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…

Instead of Building a Wall, Build a Mirror

The Republican Party has been passing legislation for years that falls in line with what its nominee Donald Trump says. It’s anti-Muslim, homophobic, misogynistic, racist and rejects science. He’s actually the embodiment of Republican policy. Now Trump has mocked the pain of the parents of Capt. Humayun Kahn, a Muslim soldier who was killed in the Iraq War. He taunted Mrs. Kahn for not speaking from the stage of the Democratic National Convention. She didn’t speak because of her grief, not her religion, as he had not-too-subtlely suggested. Trump wants to ban Muslims from coming to America. He blamed President…

Are you suffering from political nostalgia?

Are you suffering from political nostalgia? Was your dipnetting or berry picking interrupted this week by the Republican Convention? Do you long for the days where the inexperienced candidate with narcissistic qualities and a private email problem was wrapped into one person — Sarah Palin? Does it seem strange to you that David Duke, a white nationalist, Holocaust-denying, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan thinks the time is perfect for him to run for U.S. Senate instead of secretly folding white hoods and watching episodes of Archie Bunker in an actual bunker? Are you still saying “All Lives…

Thank You, Johnny Ellis

I was thinking about the retirement of Sen. Johnny Ellis this week. He has served Alaska for more than half the years we’ve been a state. It’s not a secret that I’m one of his most ardent fans and I am considering asking him for an 8-by-10 signed glossy photo to put on my desk to help me get through next year’s “Gavel to Gavel”coverage.  I wasn’t able to attend his retirement party because the sockeye were flooding Tutka Lagoon and they wouldn’t wait or find my fish smoker by themselves. I used to have a standard summer rant. It…

Juneau, Like An Outhouse On Fire

I like parables. They were my favorite sermons growing up. Oh, look! A story that has a problem and a lesson in it. What a cool way to make a point. Sometimes life presents its own parables and I try to pay attention. This week my watery cul de sac presented such a story. It has to do with something we don’t like to talk about often, but hold your nose and we’ll get through this together. Rural Alaska has a waste issue. Most people on the road system flush their toilets and – well – who knows – it…

Cheese Whiz And Donald Trump – Why He Can Win

It’s that time of the year again … family visits. Oh, Alaska, isn’t it funny who shows up? Remember me?? Um…well, this is awkward – not really, but sure, we’ve got a spare room. Nice to meet you. Here’s a specific hint to make these visits go smoothly. Don’t talk politics. I know, it’s a prime year for it, but try really hard. You might try something like, “Let’s make our family great again …, and not talk about crazy.” Friday morning the world woke up in shock that Britain had voted to break up its longtime relationship with the…

2nd Amendment Overreach

Regulations are killing my freedom to blow myself up with a gas container. When I was a kid, gas containers were not much more than red buckets with a spout and a usually missing black cap. Yeah, some gas sloshed out when you carried the can in and out of the boat or off into the woods with the chainsaw, but that was just the way it was. No big problem. These days, I need nuclear codes to get the spout to open enough for a dribble of gas. And the spout has some kind of magic slot that apparently…

Reverse Robin Hood Economics

I’ve watched a particular boat for the last several years. It’s a 15-and-a-half-foot wooden boat built decades ago by my neighbor Dick Dunn. The little boat sat submerged, tied to a piling, during most tides. Barnacles and blue mussels took up residence and seemed quite happy shacked up from bow to stern. See, another neighbor had acquired the boat and got pretty busy with a million projects. It happens. Every time I drove past that forgotten vessel, it made me a tiny bit sad. The boat had been built for a wonderful woman here on the bay who has since…