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June 15, 2021

Headlines:

AAACK! It’s Election Season in Alaska Again

Originally published on ADN.com  When I was growing up my dad had a secretary. Her name was Cathy, and it was during the era of the “Cathy” comic strip. I was pretty sure it was written about her. I thought she was wonderful. She had awesome permed hair and those glasses that were pink on the bottom and blue on the top with a sparkly butterfly in the lower corner. Cathy had something to figure out. How to program her VCR to record shows. Because of the digital video recorder, there is an entire generation who doesn’t understand how many…

Enough with the ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ – We Need Real Support for First Responders

There has been an ongoing glitch in the system for the families of fallen first responders. The health benefits that cover families of our state employees are only covered until the end of the month that their loved one has died. If they are killed the last week of the month, the surviving spouse has yet another problem to figure out during their grief. Their health insurance can be null and void before the funeral occurs. OK, so glitches happen. I’m sure that’s how a few families have felt. Oh, look! A glitch! No. It’s devastating on top of devastation,…

Time To Clean Up The SB21 Cash Spill

About a decade ago I had a conversation with someone I had voted for. I wasn’t real happy with his broken campaign promises, and, I realize this may be a shocker, but I let my disappointment be known. I think Pop Moore describes me as “subtle like a chainsaw.” I don’t know what I was expecting, but here was the response, “Sometimes you have to let go of your principles and ideals.” I’ve been rolling that around in my head ever since. I realize you and I have the luxury of our “principles and ideals” while watching both the local…

Crony Capitalism is the Norm In Juneau

The debate in Juneau over oil tax credits has captured the attention of most Alaskans by now. Alaska is paying out over $700 million more in oil tax credits than we get in production taxes. This arrangement where we pay more in tax credits than we get in production taxes is projected to last until 2025. But below the surface lies a much deeper debate over the fundamental nature of capitalism in our society. Capitalism is generally defined as an economic system where private individuals control the means of production for their own profit. A danger of capitalism has always been when…

Blood Sport Politics is Bringing Us All Down

I’ve always had a thing about grouchy old men. Most of them happen to be conservative. It might be because of a few favorite uncles, and friends of my pop. Even in politics, I’ve been moved by more conservatives than liberals — you could attribute this to the vastly outnumbered progressives in our state, but I think there’s more to it. They are a challenge to charm and usually make for more interesting conversation. (Oh, there are exceptions. For example, the new chair for the Alaska for Trump campaign.) I recently met an antique stove savant. He knows more about…

Who Does The GOP Think That They Represent?

This week several legislators from the House minority wrote an op-ed. One paragraph specifically answers the question, “What the hell are they doing still in Juneau?” I know, you probably thought it was for all the fancy lobbyists dinners and fat per diem checks, but it boils down to this: “The $775 million in cash subsidies to the oil industry is more than the combined budgets of the Alaska Court System, Department of Corrections, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Department of Fish and Game. Combined.” Can we just think about that for a minute? I’ll wait for you…

Republicans-know-best Strategy Failing Alaska

A few months ago, I explained why the Republican majorities running the Alaska House and Senate would be wise to accept a Democratic offer to put aside party politics and work together as one big caucus of the whole to address our fiscal crisis. The last time we had a bipartisan Senate, it managed to come up with a fair oil tax structure, and put $16 billion in the bank. And thank God they did, because we’re living off that savings right now. But no, Republicans rejected bipartisanship and decided to go it alone. After their successful partisan gerrymandering of…

Mary Epperson Made Homer What It Is

Originally Printed in the Anchorage Daily News Alaska has lost one of our best — I would venture to say our very best — this week. Mary Epperson passed away in Homer, surrounded by her family. She was 93. In 1954, Mary, her husband Jack and two children moved to Alaska. At her insistence they brought a piano with them. Their family settled on the Kenai Peninsula, and Mary set about making the community of Homer what it is today. This is no exaggeration, she literally made our little hamlet by the sea what it is. She was the city…

More Guns, Less Budget in Juneau

Last month a woman took her own life on the steps of the Courthouse in Juneau. The Legislature went on lockdown — after ushering aides and press out of the room. As a result, the Legislature is considering new protocols to keep their own precious souls safe from any gun violence that might befall them while at work. I get it. The Capitol building is a no-gun zone. But what I find truly remarkable is that Sen. Pete Kelly will even go to work in a “gun-free zone.” According to the “logic” in his op-ed on SB 174, the Legislature…

Trump/Republicans Not Any Different on Abortion

Donald Trump has finally said something I believe. He’s since walked it back, but this week he said he believed women should be punished for abortions. He also said he didn’t think anything should happen to the man who impregnated the woman. That seems fair. Holy hell has torn loose. The anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights people came together in shock that the GOP presidential front runner would say such a thing. The anti-abortion surrogates hit the television circuit to say how much they loved women who consider abortion and would like to “take care of them” not punish them. Sen…