Paul Jenkins

An early morning telephone call: "Turn on TV! Turn on TV!" someone kept yelling. "Turn on TV!" And there it was, an incomprehensible horror. Two jets into the World Trade Center? What the hell? Is this a movie? A joke? What? Ten years ago. It hardly seems that long since 19 madmen driven by hate changed this nation, perhaps forever. As America stood transfixed, jetliners fully laden with fuel struck the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and another crashed in a Pennsylvania field near Shanksville as passengers battled hijackers for control of the aircraft. In the minutes, hours and days that followed we came to understand the immensity of the crime: the horrid deaths, the people who held hands as they plummeted from the towers rather than burn, the devastation...Paul Jenkins
While rich guys and their hapless stooges wage the dirtiest, most misleading anti-development war in Alaska history, voters in the Lake and Peninsula Borough next month are being duped into a meaningless propaganda vote. The ongoing battle over the Pebble mine -- for the record, there is no mine, no mine application, no real idea of what a mine might look like, no concept of what it may or may not entail -- is being financed in large part by rich lodge owner Bob Gillam and peddled as a valiant effort to save Bristol Bay fish. Hogwash. It is a cheesy fight to save the rich guys' fishing experiences. No more; no less. Largely the fracas is -- and has been -- a swirl of lies and mischaracterizations. The Pebble situation aptly is described in "Alice in Wonderland" when Alice says: "If I had...Paul Jenkins
Sitting here buzzed on post-surgery meds and nursing a very sore neck, it is easy to be generous about lawmakers. They work harder than you would imagine -- at least some of them. They often find themselves in impossible spots. Seldom thanked, often cursed. Everybody wants something -- and right now -- including the impossible. They have to contend with the media slapping them around and making fun of them. Sometimes, like the rest of us, they do really dumb things. Oh, and when I say dumb, I'm not saying funny. There is that empty $240 million, 1,500-bed prison we cannot afford to operate. A gas line that may never be built. An oil tax that kills North Slope investment and production, hamstringing the state economy. None of that begins to address their past faux pas. Dare I say grain...Paul Jenkins
It gives me shivers to watch oil industry haters swoon at any rumor, any headline, any tiny wisp of hope that their dreadfully myopic and silly view of Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax is not all wet. A great example was a recent Petroleum News headline: "North Slope booms." ACES backers went into a yammering fit. See, see, they yakked to anyone dumb enough to listen, the tax works, it really does. Hardly. Smaller independent companies, it turns out, are planning as many as 28 exploration wells in the next year, and, yes, by golly, that is really swell. But ACES worshipers apparently did not read the rest of the story. It said the companies planned to drill because of fat state exploration subsidies, and -- this is really important, kids -- "because Alaska's governor is...Paul Jenkins
Alaska's oil-based economy is teetering at the edge of a fiscal abyss. North Slope oil exploration, investment and production are tanking. Throughput in the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which underwrites 90 percent of state spending, is drying up. Jobs are kaput. Our goose, so wonderfully golden only a few years ago, is being fricasseed -- and the left hallucinates that everything is peachy, that ghost drilling rigs will appear like magic and, voilà , we'll be saved. They, of course, are nuts. Our economy's main problem? Sarah Palin's revenge: Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax, cobbled together in 2007 in a hateful frenzy to punish the oil industry for sins real and imagined. Its fallout is incalculable. ACES stinks. Everybody but the left agrees. It is forcing the oil industry to...Paul Jenkins
Let us welcome to our brave, new -- and incredibly broke -- world the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, another cynical signal that our government finally is broken beyond any hope of repair. By any reputable accounting, the United States is bankrupt, with debt approaching $15 trillion -- that's with a "t" -- and we add about $1.5 trillion a year to that total, probably more if the truth ever were told. Our finances are as shaky as a bowl of Jell-O. The left blames Republicans. The right blames Democrats. Every day, the red ink sloshes ever deeper. Both parties had a hand in spending us into the poorhouse. Nobody cares anymore who got us into the mess; most wonder how we will get out before our great-grandchildren are reduced to economic slavery. Faced with all that, Congress,...Paul Jenkins
So, I'm talking to this guy. He seems educated, intelligent, informed. The conversation touches on the debt ceiling debacle, then on Sarah Palin's presidential chances, and, finally, on GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney. I chuckle and tell the guy about a column by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, headlined, "A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney." It details traveling with Romney for a day of campaigning. Milbank quickly discovers Romney was, to be kind, geeky; that "his weirdness comes through -- equal parts 'Leave It to Beaver' corniness and social awkwardness." He recounts a joke Romney tells at Blake's Creamery, a Manchester, N.H., eatery. "I saw the young man over there with eggs Benedict, with hollandaise sauce," Romney tells the proprietor. "And I was going to suggest...Paul Jenkins
When I first met our eldest granddaughter, she was minutes old. I had forgotten how tiny, how fragile a newborn seems. Wiggly. Strange. Wonderful. A bundle of future hopes and prayers. I was awestruck and did what any grandfather would do. I promised her a car right on the spot. Nowadays, one year and 364 days later, Haydyn is a human dynamo, an unstoppable dervish who never breaks stride, who zooms through life at 100 mph and who already has perfected the wocka-wocka-wocka game (it takes too long to explain). She even exhausts the schnauzers. I met our youngest granddaughter, Raegan, just a few days ago. She was only a few weeks old and had just discovered her thumb. Or kind of. She was batting about .500, thumb to mouth. She turned, looked at me with her huge eyes, and smiled. OK, it...Paul Jenkins
Finally, a fresh theory to toss onto the already heaping pile of theories, guesses and insane speculation about what the lovely Sarah P. may be up to as she titillates the electorate by telling Newsweek, "I believe that I can win a national election." Fresh from the premiere of an adulatory propaganda film about her, Palin made her pronouncement - and a bogus claim of a Slim Jim price hike - during an interview for a magazine cover story puff piece, complete with pictures apparently from the Carhartt edition of the Victoria's Secret catalog. It set the wags all atwitter, as did her saying on Fox News that no candidate yet in the race has the right skill set to run the White House and that she might offer herself up "in the name of service." It gave me chills. She says she will let us know...Paul Jenkins
Here's a surprise: A New York Times/CBS poll shows Republican voters wish they had more GOP candidates to choose from in the 2012 presidential race -- and about two-thirds of them said they are enthusiastically unenthusiastic about any of the nine announced candidates. The ennui is palpable and who could blame them? Cold mashed potatoes have more pizzazz then this bunch. History-impaired. Goofy. The same, followed by more of the same. Blah-blah-blah. The only way to liven it up would require at least a truckload of fairy dust -- or new blood jumping into the fray. All of this plays out while Barack Obama stinks up the joint. The poll says only 47 percent of the respondents approve of Obama's job performance; 44 percent disapprove. The rest have been living under a bridge for the last few...Paul Jenkins