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Murkowski vote puzzling

On her website, Sen. Lisa Murkowski says, for some reason in the third person, “Sen. Murkowski believes that climate change is a real threat that must be addressed.”

On the U.S. Senate floor last month, regarding an amendment that included the phrase “human activity significantly contributes to climate change,” she voted no, saying “I would suggest to colleagues that inclusion of that word (significant) is sufficient to merit a 'no’ vote at this time.”

So it’s a “real threat that must be addressed,” but human contribution to it is not “significant”? I’m sure the folks she visited in Kivalina last week would suggest it’s significant.

How, exactly, does she propose we address this threat if our own contributions are insignificant?...

Alaska Dispatch News

Over the years I have observed fewer and fewer kids playing outdoors in Anchorage and outlying areas. But it wasn’t until a business trip to west Chicago several years ago that something really struck home. It was a beautiful Sunday in May, and I spent the afternoon walking through vacant parks and baseball diamonds. These were real baseball diamonds with backstops, dug outs, smoothly-raked infields, mown grassy outfields and perimeter fences -- not the rough, gravel lots we played in as children in Seward.

But there was no one there. “Where are all the kids?” I almost uttered out loud.

When we were kids we would have thought we’d gone to heaven to have ball fields like this...

Frank E. Baker

In Alaska Dispatch News on Feb. 5 my friend Professor Emeritus Steve Haycox invokes the justly famous Harry V. Jaffa -- my beloved teacher -- to buttress the claim that the federal government has the right to do what it has recently done with Alaskan lands. I had the privilege of discussing state-national relations with Harry for many years, and discussed the case of Alaska with him as recently as last October in his living room in California, on his 96th birthday. His mind was still as sharp as ever and his spirit was still firm...

Dr. Forrest A. Nabors

LAKE CLARK -- Just before the equinox, when the sun first starts to relinquish its introverted winter ways, the robins that will pull up grasses and collect twigs along the lakeshore are still tweeting at each other on some distant patch of greenery. They haven’t even filed flight plans yet. But the first hint of heat from that bright ball in the sky is transformative. Even when part of my morning ritual still includes melting frost from the foam outhouse seat, I think of spring -- and running water...

Steve Kahn
Doubling motor fuels tax would help

Currently the state of Alaska has a motor fuels tax of 8 cents per gallon, the lowest in the country. Other than Virginia and New Jersey, the next highest state has a rate of more than twice as much. The national average is 24 cents. Last year Alaska brought in about $40 million from the tax. A doubling of the tax to 16 cents would bring in another $40 million.

That could be very useful for funding education or Medicaid expansion. At current low prices it would certainly be affordable; with the additional tax prices would still be much less than they were six months ago. And it would be easy to have a mechanism that throttles the tax down if oil prices increase...

Alaska Dispatch News

So, there you are, Big Oil Inc. plugging away, spending hundreds of millions of dollars doing prep work for a long-awaited $65 billion liquefied natural gas project to monetize vast North Slope reserves.

After fits and starts spanning decades, a gas line finally may make economic sense, you are thinking. It would be a nice, long-term addition to your investment portfolio, and promises decades of stable returns.

Then -- kablooey! -- the public end of your public-private project partnership goes nuts...

Paul Jenkins

Forty-three of the 50 states elect their attorney general. That fact crossed my mind recently when the Alaska Dispatch News reported that, at the direction of Gov. Bill Walker, Richard Svobodny, the deputy attorney general who supervises the criminal division at the Department of Law, flew to Bethel from Juneau to hand-deliver a letter to Bethel District Attorney June Stein in which Gov.Bill Walker fired Stein without the professional courtesy of telling her why...

Donald Craig Mitchell

Thousands of men and women are retro hunters. They hunt all over the United States, forsaking Winchester, Remington and other firearm manufacturers for weaponry older than the pyramids -- the bow and arrow, the sling shot, the spear. But nobody has taken taken retro as far as the so-called "persistence hunters" depicted by Alex Cullen and Emma Tammi in their 53-minute documentary "Fair Chase," which débuted at the Santa Barbara film Festival Jan. 29. These nine men are distance runners who attempt to track down on foot and kill the second-fastest land animal in the world -- the pronghorn antelope -- on the high plains of New Mexico....

Michael Carey
Take steps to combat climate change

There is no denying that climate disruption is a problem already showing its first consequences to poorer and lower-lying communities around the world. Most people accept the problem and acknowledge that it will have consequences. The problem is that all of us, including myself, often look for the easiest way to say we are doing something, by doing only what is convenient. If everyone only does what is convenient to combat this impending issue, we will never even slow it down...

Alaska Dispatch News

I hate to be the party pooper but I feel there is a need to point out that the possession, transportation, processing and use of marijuana is still illegal. It is not legal in Alaska, nor Colorado, nor Washington, nor Oregon. It’s not legal in your house, nor in a car, or on a train, or in a plane. No Charlo Green I am; it's not legal to grow pot in this here land...

Kevin Coe

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