Paul Jenkins

Those who understand that Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax is draconian dreck much adored mostly by Palinistas, Democrats and other oil industry haters can only marvel at the folks who loudly, even belligerently, defend the tax. You have to wonder: How can rational people see ACES as anything but an economy killer? There is so much evidence proving the tax's supporters are wrong that even the Justice Department could not hide it all. The only way to make ACES sound swell is to resort to half-truths, apples-and-rutabaga comparisons and more than a little sleight of tongue. Supporters inexplicably, conveniently confuse exploration wells -- there is only one this year -- and development wells, or hype tax credits as if the one-time gifts somehow offset ACES' rapaciousness over the...Paul Jenkins
Imagine a thicket of weathered "For Sale" signs crowding the streets in your neighborhood, touting empty homes nobody can afford, their owners long ago U-Hauling south, fleeing as the state's economy belly-flopped. As your neighbors and friends bailed out, your property value tanked like Sarah Palin's approval ratings. Schools shut down. Services dried up. You are still working. For how long is anybody's guess. A state government once 90 percent fueled by oil is digging deep into your pockets to pay its bills. Local government eyes you like chocolate cake. There is little hope. The oil industry, after all, gave up on Alaska because of punitive, greedy tax policies, leaving billions of dollars in oil stranded on the North Slope. The economic ripples across Alaska hit like tsunami waves...Paul Jenkins
Much has happened in the past 141 days. Halloween, Christmas and New Year's have come and gone. The Mideast has come unwrapped. We've turned our clocks back -- and forward again. Who could forget Marmot Day? Japan has been devastated. Gas prices -- surprise! -- are through the roof. Gov. Sean Parnell, we found out, was really for fixing Alaska's goofy oil tax all along. Who could have known? And we may be forced to mothball a multimillion-dollar prison before it is even finished. What has not happened? Well, far too many Alaska drivers still have not learned how to drive -- with or without cellphones. Giant weasels have not descended on Juneau, except in the most allegorical sense. Oh, and the city of Anchorage has yet to tell taxpayers about Anchorage Fire Chief Mark Hall, or more to the...Paul Jenkins
The faded, credit card-size sticker was barely visible in the mud-spattered pickup truck's rear window. "Joe Vogler," it said, "was right." Vogler, founder of the Alaskan Independence Party, was a nagging pain in the federal government's patoot forever, what with his incessant rabble-rousing and court challenges and Alaska secession efforts. His was a fiery voice for confrontation. A Kansas farm boy with a law degree, Vogler -- slain by a thief in 1993 -- had no use for the feds or their imperious ways in his 20 or so years navigating Alaska politics. With the federal government owning and managing 65 percent of the state, it sometimes is easy to understand why. Take, for instance, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refusal -- since last May -- to approve state biologists' plans to kill...Paul Jenkins
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." -- First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution It is easy to lose heart. The economy is struggling. The political divide is deep, dark and increasingly bitter. Our loved ones are in danger in the far, mean corners of the world. There is a nagging sense the United States might someday soon be a historical footnote. Then something happens to make you appreciate this nation for what it is and what it can be. The U.S. Supreme Court's difficult and painful ruling in a lawsuit challenging the free speech rights of the...Paul Jenkins
As you watch the raucous fight over public employees union collective bargaining and, ultimately, who will run government in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey and elsewhere, you cannot help but hope the end is near for public employees unions. Oh, it may not happen today, but it will happen soon, the embers of public anger fanned to flame by union members brashly warning a recession-battered nation they are owed, even entitled, no matter what, to ever-increasing government wages, raises, benefits and guarantees unheard of in most of the private sector. In recent days, they have shown us the petty, mean face of liberalism, with its me-first mentality. It is not pretty. To fund their demands, public sector unions expect the governments they have bought and paid for to bleed taxpayers...Paul Jenkins
The big cop kicked in the door to the tiny concrete block house, but it partially was blocked by a woman lying on the filthy floor inside, bleeding from a cut on her face. Her nose obviously broken; her eyes were swelling shut. She could only moan. The house reeked of booze and bleach and something burning on the stove. We squeezed through the narrow opening only to find two terrified girls in dirty, faded print dresses, faces splotched from being slapped, huddled against a far wall. They were gasping and sobbing. Between us and them was a scrawny piece of trash in a grimy T-shirt, stinking of cheap aftershave and promising to kill us both. He said it like he meant it, so drunk he could barely stand up. "They made me," he said waving his arm toward the woman, "They made me." He had a...Paul Jenkins
A power outage knocked out the traffic light at a busy downtown intersection, turning it automatically into a four-way stop, and rush-hour traffic was stacking up. Inching the motorcycle into the intersection, I sensed something moving to my left and braked. A woman yakking on a cell phone blew by me at speed in a huge SUV, missing me by inches. She never looked. She never slowed down. Until that second, I was ambivalent about people using cell phones while driving. Oh, people need them, I thought. Mostly, it was none of my business. No more. People who drive and talk on cell phones may be the nicest people in the world, but they are, nonetheless, killers -- yeah, killers -- just looking for a place to happen. They think they are great drivers. Most are not. A University of Utah study...Paul Jenkins
It is always a hoot to grab popcorn and watch the left zoom from zero to sheer panic in the blink of an eye whenever somebody catches it once again pretending the Constitution is only advisory. Take, for instance, the rumpus over President Barack Obama's ill-conceived, expensive and illegal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare or the Gimme All Your Dough Act. This monstrosity would grab about one-sixth of the economy, likely bankrupt the nation and be run by bureaucrats. Really, what could go wrong? It was conjured up in 2,801 pages of lawyerese -- mostly unread by Congress -- and in the process spawned 159 new bureaucratic entities. It is a grotesque monument to the left's fervent belief there is no -- there can be no -- limit on federal power because,...Paul Jenkins
If you have an hour to waste, go online and listen to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. In his view, this nation is doing swell; that with a little investment, innovation and competition -- and maybe bullet trains and a wind farm or two -- everything will be just fine. The speech is a shining example of why Americans are fed up with government, no matter whether it is "led" by Obama or a Sarah Palin. Many Americans see them as a difference without distinction -- alienated, insulated, isolated from the very people they purport to represent. Americans are growing weary of the flim-flam, the half-truths, the political hocus-pocus. Obama's speech was a case in point, long on rhetoric and light on substance; rife with yada-yada and bereft of details. It was enough to make...Paul Jenkins