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
Is it just me, or is watching Alaska's fiscal future unfold turning into a nerve-wracking experience akin to watching a sputtering dynamite fuse burn down? Am I the only one getting jittery? Let's see: Alaska lives on natural resource extraction, but has no big, new projects under way to extract natural resources. It has no roads of consequence to any natural resources except the Dalton Highway. In fact, this is a state that has not built a new road of any consequence since Jimmy Carter was elected president. We have gas, but no way to move it to soft markets quickly finding closer, cheaper sources. The likelihood of building a $40 billion gas line to move North Slope gas south seems a pipe dream. Even if it could be built with gas prices hovering at about $4.50 per million British...Paul Jenkins
It was predictably predictable. A tragedy in Tucson chased within minutes by the shouts of leftist zealots clamoring for more government and less freedom. This time, they are shrill, gleeful and, at least so far, comically ineffectual in their frenzied attacks on conservatives. While their hysterical fury may baffle most, it may turn out to be a very good thing. A crazed, disaffected, apolitical 22-year-old druggie is charged with shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a hail of bullets at a Tucson grocery store. Six died; 14 were wounded, including Giffords. The shots were still echoing as the left rushed to politicize the carnage and blame Republicans and conservatives in an attempt to curb guns and free speech. It was Sarah Palin's fault, they said, or her silly map targeting Giffords'...Paul Jenkins
When our legislators flock to Juneau like ravens to a McDonald's bag in a parking lot, they will have a lot on their minds. Money. Power. The budget. How can I hose the other guy and get away with it? How can I be more important? How do I sign up for the Love Boat? All of the nagging issues normal lawmakers chafe about. Too bad. They should be concentrating on only one thing as the 27th Legislature gets under way: Fixing the abomination known as Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, or Sarah's Revenge, foisted off on us in 2007 by former Demi-Gov. Sarah Palin and her merry band of oil industry haters. The poorly crafted oil tax is neither clear, nor equitable. It was designed to be, and is, draconian punishment for sins real and imagined -- and is an unfortunate example of government taking...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. This much is known from earlier newspaper reports: Hall was at the hotel with his wife and friends. He was helping -- or hindering, depending on who you talk to -- firefighters summoned...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. The book itself seems solid,...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? In a political tantrum after Murkowski's unlikely long-shot victory, Miller kicked...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. Instead of coming off as a mama grizzly, she appeared tentative, uncomfortable, unprepared. She looked like what she was -- TV talent. It made me remember a song that...Paul Jenkins