Paul Jenkins

Too often, government officials in Alaska seem to think they are working for themselves and their friends in some sort of cosmic hide-the-pea game, that they are unaccountable to the people who pay their salaries.

Anchorage taxpayers still are waiting to learn what disciplinary action -- if any -- was meted out against Fire Chief Mark Hall when the dust settled after an Oct. 30 incident outside the Hotel Captain Cook.

Something happened, but the details and fallout remain unclear. The administration claims the incident is a personnel issue and there will be no comment. Hall said he was directed to clam up...

Paul Jenkins

It seemed such a simple, happy thing: All I had to do was record the "Twas the night before Christmas" poem for my lovely granddaughter in one of those newfangled electronic books. That's all. How hard could it be? No heart attack. No insanity. No Alaska politics.

The book was intimidating in its own way. After all, years after I'm gone my beautiful granddaughter will dig out the battered old book and tell her friends, or even her children: "Here's my crazy old grandfather trying to read. Poor man. He suffered a head injury, I think." It dawned on me this stupid book is forever. It would capture my voice until eternity, or until the little digital doodads die or do whatever they do. There could be no mistakes. No sounding like a moron until the end of time...

Paul Jenkins

Joe Miller's political future in Alaska is, not to put too fine a point on it, deader than Alabama roadkill. Draw a chalk line around it and call somebody to clean it up. The worst part? Miller insists on killing it even deader.

Here's a guy who started his Senate election campaign lying about Sen. Lisa Murkowski's record, and it went downhill from there. He was desperately wrong on too many issues to count, stopping just shy of declaring the Constitution unconstitutional. He was as senatorial as Daffy Duck.

That was before he tanked in the general election to Murkowski's historic write-in campaign. Did Miller concede and congratulate her? Does watching a Sean Parnell speech send shivers down your spine?...

Paul Jenkins

Please, Lord, if somebody ever decides to shoot at me, let it be Sarah Palin. Amen.

That short prayer came to me as I watched the fourth episode of her faux-reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which had our half-term governor and former vice presidential candidate blasting away at a hapless and seemingly not very bright cow caribou somewhere in the Frozen North.

Palin, a likely presidential contender in 2012, was joined in the hunt by her 72-year-old father and a family friend. She had all the looks of somebody who has not spent much time in the woods or put in time behind guns, especially those she was using in the hunt...

Paul Jenkins

As Joe Miller's fledgling political career explodes like a Ford Pinto gas tank and increasingly crabby Alaskans chafe, waiting for him to finally grasp the inevitable reality that he lost the Senate election, there remains a question: In all this, is there a message for Lisa Murkowski?

You betcha. It's this: Her shocking August primary defeat easily could happen again in six years. Murkowski's improbable, historic write-in victory does not guarantee her a Senate seat for life because voters, as she learned firsthand, are cranky and capricious...

Paul Jenkins

For a mere attosecond, as Bristol Palin prepared to cha-cha her heart out for the top spot on "Dancing with the Stars," it was difficult not to empathize with her, a rank amateur struggling in the deep end of the pool. Not to wonder at the crass mix of presidential politics and what passes for entertainment nowadays. Not to think, "Go for it, kid," and wish her well.

Then, she proved she is her mother's daughter. "Going out there and winning this would mean a lot," she said. "It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there who hate my mom and hate me."

Bristol stumbled into the finals dead last.

"There's lots of haters out there that are waiting for me to fail," she said...

Paul Jenkins

Word careened around the Army post like a pinball: There was going to be trouble, a showdown.

Every Friday, the post commander held "Generals' Call," and every officer was expected to attend under penalty of catching the next plane to someplace ugly. The general, a two-star with a crusty disposition -- and the intuition to know that handing ceremonial swords to dopey 19-year-old lieutenants in dress blues was a bad idea -- would dictate the uniform, the time, the location and whether medals would be worn...

Paul Jenkins

The Anchorage Assembly lost its collective mind when it abandoned the notion of everybody paying equally their fair share of city taxes to provide services we all receive. It now believes it can single out select, small groups using legal products and tax them mercilessly because it is, after all, best for the children.

It is cynical, predatory government at its worst.

Eight Assembly members last week voted to increase the city cigarette tax by 75 cents a pack to bring in perhaps $6.2 million. That would make the city levy on cigarettes $2.21 a pack. That is in addition to the $3-a-pack state and federal taxes already in place...

Paul Jenkins

Listening to radio mouth Dan Fagan hectoring his listeners to go to the Division of Elections and register as write-in candidates to derail Sen. Lisa Murkowski's re-election campaign by confusing voters was -- and I'm being kind here -- disgusting.

You could argue his actions amounted to purposeful tampering with the Nov. 2 balloting and, frankly, poor judgment bordering on gross stupidity. Fagan, a Miller shill, admitted he was "only tampering with the election so the right candidate wins. ... I'm only trying to trick voters so the right candidate gets the victory." No kidding...

Paul Jenkins

As the Joe Miller Looney Tunes Express chugs toward Tuesday, somebody needs to point out the obvious: No rational person, nobody in complete command of his or her faculties could possibly vote for Miller. Nobody. A vote for him, after all, is a vote for the bottom of the barrel, the dregs in our political system.

Without meaning to, this guy has told Alaskans who he is. What do we know about him at this point? Let's see: He desperately needs us to believe he is a war hero. He is secretive. He is an admitted liar. He lied about Lisa Murkowski's record in the Senate. He lied about receiving farm subsidies. He lied about using Fairbanks North Star Borough time and equipment for political purposes -- and who knows what else?...

Paul Jenkins