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Michael Carey

The Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 is one of the best-known pieces of legislation in Alaska history. The act addressed a terrible wrong -- discrimination in public accommodations and facilities -- and was championed by a charismatic Native leader, Elizabeth Peratrovich. The measure also had the support of Gov. Ernest Gruening, a brilliant lawmaker and skillful writer. Gruening told the story of the legislation a number of times -- with a keen sense of disappointment the measure was necessary, yet pride that Alaskans recognized its importance...

Michael Carey

Do you know enough about the candidates and issues in the upcoming Aug. 19 primary election -- and enough about Alaska political history -- to cast an informed ballot? Sure you do. You're no slacker.

But let's put you to the test -- the High Energy Politics Carey Awareness Test (HEPCAT) devised for this election. There are 20 questions. Each correct answer is worth five points. Accumulate 70 points and you are a certifiable HEPCAT. Get all 20 questions right, and you win a hunting trip guided by Congressman Don Young.

I. The first bill passed by the first Alaska Legislature (1913) allowed:...

Michael Carey

Writing in the July 5 Washington Post, reporter Michael E. Ruane does a wonderful job of exploring the love letters Warren Harding wrote to his mistress, Carrie Phillips. Harding, a future president, carried on an affair with his married Ohio neighbor for years while he was a lieutenant governor of Ohio and a U.S. senator...

Michael Carey

We have seen it all before.

The congressman's outrageous misbehavior on the public stage. The newspaper stories and video clips that capture him breaking bad. His perfunctory apology before he runs silent avoiding the press. The public's confusion about what to do with the offender -- Don Young.

Yes, the self-described Congressman for all Alaska once again has become an embarrassment. The CSPAN cameras caught him making imbecilic gestures and sticking out his tongue while nearby a colleague made the case for naming a New Jersey post office for a Marine killed in Iraq. This came only days after the House Ethics Committee ruled that Don improperly accepted nearly $60,000 in gifts...

Michael Carey

When I was editorial page editor, my trips to the capital taught me that if I hoped to understand political behavior, I needed to become more cynical.

But I wasn't cynical enough to imagine the latest gambit from "the comedians in Juneau," as my Dad, Fabian, derisively dismissed the capital crew. They have made a registered lobbyist a member of the state House of Representatives.

Samuel Kito III, 49, has been appointed to the Juneau delegation, replacing Beth Kerttula, who resigned after eight-plus terms...

Michael Carey

R.L. Polk and Co. has published city directories more than 125 years.

For historians and genealogists, these directories are indispensable. They can establish where your ancestors, immediate relatives or people who interest you lived, who their neighbors were, if they were married and where they worked.

I have a thick maroon and gold Fairbanks directory I dip into now and again. It's the first Polk for the Golden Heart City, published in 1959.

1959 was important to me personally and important to Alaska history. I entered high school in 1959; Alaska became a state in 1959. For both of us, this was a year of transition...

Michael Carey

For more than 20 years, I have read James Joyce's "The Dead" at Christmas. The story, the last in the collection "Dubliners," has a lugubrious title in stark contrast with the setting, a festive Christmas party.

Joyce is known for complicated fiction replete with arcane references testing scholars' knowledge of mythology and religion. "The Dead" is, for the most part, clear, direct, fast-moving prose and tight story telling. The "action" often consists of conversation -- and reflection. The dead are present only in the characters' memories and have lived only in memory for years...

Michael Carey

Here is a prediction made with certainty. November will be 30 days of running commentary about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It's not even Halloween and bloggers, columnists, authors of 500-page tomes, videographers and filmmakers have begun bombarding Americans with Kennedy assassination fact, fiction and folklore...

Michael Carey

A friend of my youth was in Fairbanks last week. So was I. We had not seen each other in 40 years and spent three days reminiscing, explaining, confessing.

My friend, who last saw Fairbanks in the spring of 1968, found himself cast as Rip Van Winkle. The city on the banks of the Chena he remembered has largely disappeared. So have most of those who called it home. I don't know how many times I responded to questions about someone we knew with, "He died." or "She is dead." As for the teenage boys who became best buds in the early Sixties, they survive only in memories, photographs, a few news stories and police archives...

Michael Carey

Jack London's "To Build a Fire" is one of the rare pieces of fiction set in the Gold Rush that continues to attract readers. In vivid economical prose, London rapidly tells the story of a greenhorn who freezes to death, alone except for his dog, on a remote Klondike trail. This is a tale of small mistakes at 50 below zero (or colder) following a profound failure of judgment. When the man leaves his warm cabin without recognizing the danger the cold presents, he is doomed...

Michael Carey

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