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Voices

I was a bit taken aback at the vehemence expressed by some commenters on my Jan. 13 column towards seniors in this state. Who knew some viewed us with such dislike? According to these commenters, cutting senior benefits will cause us to leave the state, thus saving the state enormous amounts of money spent on our pensions and tax exemptions. Before kicking us all to the curb, however, let’s review some of the things seniors provide that would be hard to replace...

Elise Patkotak

As the total number of terrorist incidents caused by Muslim extremists increases over time, with Paris being the latest, it becomes tempting to conclude that Islam is anything but a religion of peace and that major steps should be taken to counter its spread and growing influence. Before being drawn too far down this path though, we would do well to reflect on how, in another context, we might be compelled to draw similar conclusions about other faiths based on the activities of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan or the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army of Northern Uganda (whose evil deeds in the name of religion are every bit as odious as those of the Muslim radicals). Extrapolating from the extremist behavior of such groups to condemn an entire religion is foolhardy at best...

Dr. Douglas Johnston

I take a deep and annoyed breath every time I see a Greenpeace #SavetheArctic tweet, video, or article.

Not because I think climate change isn’t having a real and detrimental impact on the Arctic -- it is. Not because their publicity stunts around the world have been embarrassing, destructive and foolish -- though they have. Not because Greenpeace has a long history of marginalizing northern voices and inherent rights, although that bothers me too.

My problem with Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign is far more basic than that. My problem is that it is based on assumptions that are misleading, specious, and distracting from actual environmental issues needing attention in the Arctic. My problem with #SavetheArctic is that it does no such thing...

Heather Exner-Pirot
Nowhere to go but down

All of those Anchorage residents who hope that Anchorage Economic Development Corp.’s guest speaker Daniel Pink will help Anchorage become the No. 1 city in America to live, work and play by the year 2025 stand up and cheer. Can we afford it? Is it sustainable? It’s lonely at the top. There will be no place to go but down.

Or can we just leave us alone where we are. I’d be fine with that.

-- Joe Buesseler Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

On Jan. 20, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court offered the momentous 5-4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling declaring that corporations are people. Five years later, 73 percent of Americans are opposed to Citizens United and see the absurdity of considering a corporate entity a person.

While the ruling might seem like a comical joke passed down from the high court to see if we were paying attention, the consequences of Citizens United are not laughing matters. The anniversary of Citizens United coincides with the start of a new Alaska state legislative session, making it an ideal time for elected leaders and citizens alike to recognize the harm of artificial persons influencing our elections and legislative process, and to do something about it...

Jessie Peterson

Craig Medred’s Dec. 30, 2014, opinion piece “ Oil pays the way while extraction giants like fishing and mining skate ” was just more of the deceptive bravado and vindictive rhetoric that appears to be his trademark. I can easily buy into Medred’s first few paragraphs pointing out that Alaskans have not let wisdom get in the way of mitigating inevitable declining oil revenues, but the apples vs. oranges comparison of tax rates, royalties and revenues scapegoat commercial fishing in particular and obscure economic realities while further politicizing complex issues...

Chip Treinen

As it gears up for its public meeting in Juneau, the Tongass Advisory Committee is almost ready to make its recommendations on the future of our largest national forest. As a resident of the Tongass, I want to express my hope that the TAC will speak for the many diverse users of our forest and recommend a management plan that protects and enhances the economy that sustains us...

Zachary Brown

Last October the Forest Service awarded the Big Thorne timber sale to Viking Lumber of Klawock. The action came after more than a year's delay. The sale’s implementation is still held up by an environmental lawsuit challenging the Big Thorne contract.

The Big Thorne stewardship timber contract awarded to Viking would allow harvesting of 97 million board feet. The irony is that the current management plan for the Tongass as prepared by the Forest Service calls for harvesting up to 267 million board feet. Nevertheless, this reduced figure would allow Southeast Alaska’s only remaining medium-sized sawmill to continue operations. (In the 1970s and '80s, Southeast Alaska had two pulp mills and eight sawmills. Now only one medium-sized sawmill remains.)...

Frank Murkowski

A few weeks ago, I saw "Selma," a remarkable movie about the unbreakable persistence and moral leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans in the Jim Crow South.

But what the movie didn’t reveal was the role played by the labor movement in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and its part in propelling the civil rights movement forward at so many pivotal moments. As we mark Dr. King’s 86th birthday, it is my hope that Americans will remember another less-celebrated element of his dream -- a belief in the importance of unions, labor rights and robust worker voice...

Thomas E. Perez

Alaskans are generally pretty aware of the importance of keeping their waters clean. Not surprising when you consider that our 6,640 miles of coastline span an area greater than all the other states combined. Far more than just an economic engine, our oceans are the source of much of our subsistence harvest, a practice that for some is about far more than just storing food for the winter. So it’s safe to say Alaskans are by-and-large interested in protecting the water, especially in the rural communities located along the coastline...

Carey Restino

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