Shannyn Moore

Ever fallen for a satirical story on the web? You know, it can be really hard to differentiate between made-up crazy and actual crazy. Satirists like Jon Stewart and The Onion have had to step up their game to out-crazy the wingnuttery that has become a daily reality in American politics. (Hat tip to you, Sarah Leadfoot.)

This week I saw a story I thought must be a joke. I have to hand it to Gov. Sean Parnell: he can still manage to parody himself. Truly impressive. He’s such a caricature of himself I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry.

Consider this paragraph fair warning: If you read on, your coffee may end up flying out of your nose and onto your newspaper or computer screen. You’re welcome...

Shannyn Moore

Do you remember the first time you saw a “No Pebble” sticker or heard of the fight against the largest open pit mine at the headwaters of the last great salmon fisheries?

I do. It was a decade ago. A David-and-Goliath story. One that has a new development.

Oh, if you listen to the national Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Lisa Murkowski or the newest paid mouth for the Pebble Partnership, Tom Collier, they portray the gargantuan mine as David.

Sorry, shills. Not so fast.

On Friday the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of its plan to protect the watershed, the salmon and the people of Bristol Bay from the threat of large-scale mining like that proposed by Pebble...

Shannyn Moore

I support the Second Amendment. I have guns and, because we have some lunatics on the loose in this state, I conceal carry. But I didn’t support the so-called “Stand Your Ground” law that allows people to shoot those they fear without trying to retreat first. If you can retreat safely, you should -- rather than take someone’s life.

It was a controversial bill that many believed would lead to more violence, so you can imagine my happy surprise when Sarah Palin’s then-attorney general, Dan Sullivan, opposed the bill and helped kill it in 2010. I was impressed that Sarah Palin had actually hired an attorney general willing to stand his ground against insane gun laws...

Shannyn Moore

Several years ago the federal government lost north of half a billion dollars investing in a solar energy company called Solyndra. You may remember the faux scandal. Conservatives howled, how could the government "pick winners and losers?" Seriously! If a company can't make it in the free market, why should the public underwrite its risk?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu ultimately resigned because of Solyndra. If you divided that particular loss to the treasury, it worked out to be about $1.80 per American man, woman and child...

Shannyn Moore

Well, brace yourselves. Alaska is going to have more political ads over the next five months than we have reality shows, which is really saying something.

We have a cheap seat up for bid, and the money is pouring in from all sides. If this were a boat, the bilge pump couldn't keep up. It makes sense...

Shannyn Moore

I asked a friend this week if he remembered the name of the Atlanta Olympics bomber.

"Oh, that was Richard Jewell, right? Wait. It wasn't him. He actually got people away from the bomb but then they thought it was him. Who actually did do it? Weird. I can't remember his name."

The real bomber, Eric Rudolph, was convicted of the Atlanta bombing that injured more than 100 and killed one woman after he bombed an abortion clinic.

I had to look up his name. That's how distorting the media frenzy can be. Mr. Jewell did win defamation cases against news outlets, but years later his name is the one people associate with domestic terrorism.

This week we've seen the same sort of whiplash in reporting. Hero! Traitor! We need theme music and a graphic, quick!...

Shannyn Moore

I read an op-ed in this paper by a gentleman named Jack Gerard with the American Petroleum Institute. He's here from Washington, D.C., making speeches and honking his hooter. His message? Alaska needs to stand up to the federal government by endorsing tax cuts for oil companies in Alaska. We need to vote against our own interests in the August referendum.

It's the economic equivalent of the Vietnam War strategy of destroying the village to save it.

Dear Mr. Gerard, if I wanted the opinion of an outsider from Washington, I'd call U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, thank you very much...

Shannyn Moore

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Gov. Parnell and the Giveaway Gang in their pursuit to give away Alaska's oil resources to their campaign contributors in the oil industry. Former Gov. Palin condemned the oil wealth giveaway as crony capitalism. You know you've got yourself a tax giveaway when even one of the leaders of the Tea Party thinks it's ripping off Alaskans.

This came on the heels of a report from Scott Goldsmith purporting to tell us that this talk about a $2 billion giveaway was "nonsense." I guess when Parnell told us last year we'd have a $500 million surplus this year if we passed SB 21 and Giveaway opponents said we'd have a $2 billion deficit, and now that we've passed SB 21 we actually have a $2 billion deficit -- that is just one giant coincidence...

Shannyn Moore

Last week the attorney general of Texas sued Xerox Corp. The same day Texas' Medicaid agency announced it was ending its $759 million contract with the firm.

It ended its contract three years early "for cause." The state claims it lost hundreds of millions of dollars because Xerox wasn't scrutinizing claims enough.

New Hampshire also hired Xerox. The Medicaid payment system was supposed to be up and running in 2007. Wow. I remember that year; it was a long time ago. The system finally went live in spring 2013.

Montana awarded a $70 million contract in 2009 to Xerox. It hasn't made its deadlines and there seems to be no hope that it will be ready to go live by fall 2015 as promised. Montana is fining the corporation every day it misses a "system milestone."...

Shannyn Moore

I had the honor of delivering the commencement speech at the Kachemak Bay campus of the University of Alaska this week.

I thought a lot about what to say to the graduates and their friends and families. My own daughter is graduating from high school this month. I wondered what I'd want a stranger to say to her. I read all sorts of speeches given to people wearing caps and gowns. One caught my eye.

Last spring, George Saunders, a writer and professor, spoke to the graduates of Syracuse University. For all his regrets, and he had a list, he said, what he would have changed in his life was seizing more opportunities to live kindness. After many years he still remembered a specific instance when, as a young boy, he had missed a chance to be kind...

Shannyn Moore