Michael Carey

Many pilots have written memoirs of their flying careers. Their collected works fill tall bookcases. Usually a pilot turned author, no matter how skilled in the cockpit, is a modest literary craftsmen. He or she can tell a story but cannot make it shine.

James Salter, who died in June at age 90, was an exception. Unlike most pilots, he was not a one-book man who crammed a lifetime between two covers. He quit flying in his prime to write fiction, nonfiction, and movie scripts and continued writing for half a century...

Michael Carey

Donald Trump's ugly comments about Mexican immigrants prove yet again that if you are a rich celebrity, you can capture the nation's attention no matter how offensive your words...

Michael Carey

Children recognize adults have great power over them but discover adults are flawed. Sometimes the flaws are physical. In Fairbanks in the '50s, my family had as neighbors a number of frail old men, miners who had come to the Interior during the gold rush a half century before. For them, the mother lode always was over the next hill. Their dreams of riches were never fulfilled in a lifetime of toil. These sourdoughs lived in small, tidy cabins. They had no income beyond territorial old-age assistance, a pittance, and a small Social Security check derived from employment during World War II when anyone who could work did. They were profoundly grateful when neighbors like my Dad, Fabian, brought them moose meat or caribou for their Dutch ovens....

Michael Carey

For more than a week, I have been dropping by the rebuilt Anchorage legislative building on Fourth Avenue to see the Legislature in action. There isn't much action. Lawmakers are deadlocked over the 2015 budget, and substantive discussions, when they occur, usually take place in private...

Michael Carey

Even in death Charlie Edwardsen made headlines. He died in his sleep at age 71 while on a whale hunt near Barrow, and within hours, he was atop the front page in Anchorage.

For almost half a century, the newspapers referred to Charlie as an Inupiaq "activist." But "activist" fit Charlie like a parka sewn for a smaller man.

In temperament, in spirit, Charlie Edwardsen was a revolutionary following in the footsteps of Fidel, Che and, for that matter, George Washington. He just didn't pack a gun (as far as I know).

I knew Charlie for three decades -- the years after he was the young firebrand in conflict with nearly everyone, Native and non-Native alike, about how many acres, how many dollars should be in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act...

Michael Carey

Long ago -- in the mid-'60s -- my political science professor assigned his students "Who Governs?" by Robert Dahl.

"Who Governs?" was read all over the United States, not just the eastern liberal enclave where I attended school. Dahl, a Yale government professor, was one of the best known academic political analysts of his time -- and his time lasted decades. He died in 2014 at age 98.

The premise of his book was brilliant -- the eternal question of who governs could be answered, at least in the United States, through an examination of one community, New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is located...

Michael Carey

The dead are in our thoughts frequently but few of us think about them as members of the community in which we live. But they are. In Anchorage, their names are on streets, sections of town, public buildings, businesses -- the Hotel Captain Cook, for instance. Cemeteries, permanent homes for the dead, draw visitors who wish to pay their respects. The dead are part of written and oral tradition; they survive in stories passed down through generations. Many of us have the dead looking at us from photographs in our living room. In Dublin, which I visited while in Ireland recently, the dead are intertwined with the living in large measure because of the Irish literary tradition....

Michael Carey

Oil prices in 2015 have been half or less the prices Alaskans enjoyed in 2014. Since the beginning of February, Alaska North Slope crude has consistently sold for less than $57 a barrel.

Alaskans are in trouble, but they are not the only ones facing economic dislocation.

The Guardian newspaper recently published an extensive analysis of what Britons -- and particularly the Scots -- can expect from lower North Sea oil prices...

Michael Carey

Thousands of men and women are retro hunters. They hunt all over the United States, forsaking Winchester, Remington and other firearm manufacturers for weaponry older than the pyramids -- the bow and arrow, the sling shot, the spear. But nobody has taken taken retro as far as the so-called "persistence hunters" depicted by Alex Cullen and Emma Tammi in their 53-minute documentary "Fair Chase," which débuted at the Santa Barbara film Festival Jan. 29. These nine men are distance runners who attempt to track down on foot and kill the second-fastest land animal in the world -- the pronghorn antelope -- on the high plains of New Mexico....

Michael Carey

Historian David Donald said more has been written about Abraham Lincoln than anyone in American history. Studying and writing about Lincoln is something of a national industry. The New York Times recently put Richard Brookhiser's "Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln" on the cover of the Sunday Book Review...

Michael Carey

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