Voices

Calloused to partisanship

The state of Alaska is facing significant, long-term deficits. The Republicans in Juneau want to reduce the deficit by slashing funding, including draconian cuts to education. The Democrats would like to reduce the deficit by once again raising taxes on the big, bad oil industry.

We have become calloused to the constant fighting between Democrats and Republicans. I seriously doubt that these two groups could even agree on the color of the sky.

With apologies to the author of “Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone” (Septimus Winner), I dedicate this verse to our illustrious Alaska State Legislature:...

Alaska Dispatch News

On April 24, the United States assumed the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, arguably the most important intergovernmental forum among Arctic states. For the past two years, Canada has been the organization’s chair, and has focused on economic development in a worldwide region facing constant and unprecedented change.

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s minister for the Arctic Council, announced as the nation took over its chairmanship, that the theme for the next two years was “development for the people of the North” with a focus on responsible resource development, safe Arctic shipping and sustainable circumpolar communities...

Carey Restino

SITKA -- We’ll begin with the boat. Mid-March, a few days after flying in, I woke to a call from a buddy on the docks who told me that the high-water alarm was bleating. Ran down to find water above the floorboards in the engine room. We got a couple of pumps on the boat, and got ahead of the water coming in.

I spent the rest of the day scraping the Adak’s seams with a wire brush and spraying in foam. A diver spread sawdust through the water to find any infiltrations. We watched the bilge to see where it might come in, but no luck.

Who knows -- the sawdust could have found its way into the leak, or the spray might have worked. Such are the mysteries of boats...

Brendan Jones
I must have been dreaming

How sad that the money machine has slowed down, with the price of oil at basement levels. Legislators have wisely concluded that we’re spending way too much money coddling all those school kids and overpaying teachers, some of whom deliver “fluff” (who needs music and art?), and counselors who sit in their comfy offices offering useless advice which students ignore — let’s cut $47 million of fat from education funding, and ignore the base set in previous years. Times are tough. Getting to what is really important, let’s buy the lush new office space downtown for $30 million, rather than rent it....

Alaska Dispatch News

Have you ever noticed how politicians who campaign on "government is bad" rhetoric seem to do everything they can to prove it once elected?

When people ask me what the ham and cheese is going on down there, I shrug. There's no logic to the stonewalling and disregard of basic tasks at hand.

A few weeks ago I listened to a Red Sox game on the radio. It went 19 innings. The back and forth was giving me whiplash and it was a glorious thing. IT WAS A GAME. State politics shouldn't be -- but the idea of all of us winning makes the Republican majority feel like they are losing. The session is now in extra innings...

Shannyn Moore

At current prices and costs the economics of North Slope oil production are marginal, and some production is losing money. The following is a snapshot of those economics. Alaska oil prices have averaged $55 per barrel this year. Pipeline and marine transportation costs are $9 per barrel. That leaves a gross value of $46 per barrel. The average upstream capital and operating cost (including $2 per barrel in property tax) is $35 per barrel. This leaves the net value at $11 per barrel...

Roger Marks

Although older Alaskans may deserve the government we voted for, it looks like the younger ones won’t get the education they deserve. Gov. Bill Walker and Education Commissioner Mike Hanley first sounded the education retreat when they asked the Legislature in January to remove $50 million from public schools without a plan. In the Capitol this month, House legislators told the NAACP that they had cut budgets for schools and pre-schools further because the governor started it. And while we were asking individual senators about last year’s promise to maintain funding, Sens....

Mike Bronson

If the notion of wielding the IRS as a weapon against political enemies or wiretapping the Associated Press does not bother you; if the NSA's pervasive eavesdropping or Barack Obama’s lawless presidency does not make you nuts, what happened in Wisconsin will seem like, well, just a walk in the park.

If all that winds your crank, though, and you wonder what America would look like if some liberal Democrats had their way, take a moment and read David French’s “ Wisconsin’s Shame: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion ,” in the National Review...

Paul Jenkins

“Moose: The Movie” is well worth the drive to Wasilla. The feature-length, locally made film created by Tundra cartoonist Chad Carpenter and about half the Mat-Su population is bright, fast-paced, well produced, utterly entertaining and very amusing. Think “Whale Fat Follies” meets “Scrubs.”

The show opens with the wise, soft voice of a Native elder (Pius Savage) recalling a legend about an unkillable beast with the head of a moose and the body of a man that was trapped in the underworld in ancient times and held there by a totem...

Mike Dunham
Eliminating estate tax does little to fix real budget woes

Taxation of any kind seems impossible to defend these days, but the House’s vote to repeal the estate tax shows how beholden it is to the few at the expense of the many and the nation, as the elimination of this tax creates a $20 billion hole in the budget. Lawmakers are pouring gas on our budgetary fire by eliminating this tax...

Alaska Dispatch News