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Attack ads bolstering Mark Begich’s quest to retain his Senate seat are enough to make any self-respecting snake blush. To endure them day-in and day-out without developing spiritual callouses, a person needs, as Hunter S. Thompson once put it, the soul of a lizard.

At least one of the ads -- vicious enough to make even the left gasp -- drew national ridicule and scorn. If you give them much credence you would have to believe Begich’s opponent, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, is the devil incarnate, that Alaska women are not very bright, and that they care only about abortion and free birth control. Heaven forbid they would worry about the economy, or jobs or national security issues. Begich apparently would leave all that heavy lifting to the menfolk...

Paul Jenkins

Editor's note: The following commentary was first published in the Anchorage Daily News on Aug. 12, 1986, under the title, "What good's a road when people can't bear to live." Its author resubmitted it after reading Harold Napoleon's Oct. 17 commentary and recent news items about Don Young's statements on suicide. He intends to raise questions about how much progress has been made to address this concern in the last 28 years...

Tim Troll

I was about 10 when I heard a sermon I will never forget. The speaker that day drew a few gasps from the congregation of the Homer Christian Church when he disagreed with a passage from the Bible. He quoted from 1 Corinthians, Ch. 13, the passage you often hear at weddings: "Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest of these is love." "That's not true," he said. "The greatest of these is hope." He explained that his father had committed suicide. There was no shortage of love in their family. His father had simply lost hope that the pain of his illness would ever be alleviated. It was too much to bear. Too bad Congressman Don Young wasn't sitting next to me that day almost 35 years ago. This past week, our 81-year-old congressman addressed a group of high school students in Wasilla....

Shannyn Moore

CHICKALOON -- The Chickaloon Trail sank into the muddy subsoil, its ruts deepened by more than a hundred years of use. Wagons once rolled here. Now the tracks were left by moose, four-wheelers hunting those moose and my kids' sopping sneakers. The path twisted along a route that only vaguely resembled the line on our map. We had to trust, like generations of travelers before, that it would get us where we needed to go. It used to be the only way...

Erin McKittrick

For 26 Septembers, I’ve hiked up streams littered with the corpses of dying humpback salmon. It is nothing new, nothing surprising, not the stench, not the gore, not the thrashing of black humpies plowing past their dead brethren to spawn and die. It is familiar; still, it is terrible and wild. Winged and furred predators gather at the mouths of streams to pounce, pluck, tear, rip and plunder the living, dying hordes. This September, it is just as terrible and wild as ever, but I gather in the scene with different eyes, the eyes of someone whose own demise is no longer an abstraction, the eyes of someone who has experienced the tears, rips and plunder of cancer treatment...

Eva Saulitis

NOME -- One hundred eighty-three, to be exact. Those are all the miles I’ve driven since arriving in Nome -- this town with three roads out and no roads in.

Three beautiful, somewhat-maintained roads. Do you ever just have the urge to blast some music and drive as far as you can, trying to get lost in your thoughts as your wheels get lost in the grooves of the road?...

Jenn Ruckel | KNOM
Instead of attacking Walker, thank him

My name is Dave Dengel, and I worked for the city of Valdez for 15 years. Seven of those years I served as the Valdez city manager. I worked closely with Bill Walker on many issues. One issue was the development of Alaska’s gas for the benefit of all Alaskans.

Bill was instrumental in the formation of the Alaska Gasline Port Authority. The port authority’s highest priority is to bring economical energy to Alaska by exporting excess gas to the Asian market. Bill’s work on the gas line has shown that the economics and the markets are there to develop our gas on terms favorable to Alaska as well as to the industry. Bill traveled to the Asian markets with his own funds to meet with the buyers of LNG...

Alaska Dispatch News

There are numerous criminal justice statistics cited in support of and in opposition to Ballot Measure 2 (An Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana). Recently, arrest numbers, prosecution outcomes, criminal sentencing practices, and incarceration rates, have all been referenced in ads, op-eds, and at debates...

Troy C. Payne
GOP couldn’t make ANWR happen

Dan Sullivan’s attack ads against Mark Begich show his lack of understanding of Alaska’s recent history. Sullivan claims Begich has had six years to get ANWR opened for oil drilling but has failed to do so. Does Sullivan understand that Alaska’s all-Republican delegation from 1980 until 2008, Sens. Ted Stevens, Frank Murkowski and Congressman Don Young also failed? Ted Stevens was probably the single most powerful of all members of the Senate and he had three Republican administrations and 20 years out of 28 from 1980 until 2008 controlled by the GOP and he couldn’t get it done. There was no Harry Reid to blame either, the Republicans controlled the Senate in parts of that time as well as the House...

Alaska Dispatch News

On Nov. 4, Alaskans will make a decision on Ballot Measure 2, whether or not to legalize the use of marijuana. As we make this decision, it is important we base it on complete information rather than the propaganda currently being slung. We have the benefit of not being the first state to wrestle with this issue. All we need to do is look as far as Colorado and Washington to truly understand the effects of legalizing marijuana...

Keith Mallard

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