Voices

Sport, like mythology, subconsciously structures our mind to interpret the world in certain ways. Sunday is the de facto national holiday of Super Bowl Sunday, and football, more than any other sport, organizes social reality. Football philosophers would have us to believe that football mirrors war. Not really. Football mirrors corporatism. From Pop Warner to high school, college and the pros, football creates a world view. The head coach is the CEO of the metaphorical football corporation. David Biderman, writing in the Wall Street Journal (2010), found there are about 11 minutes of action in an NFL game -- lots of time for commercials. On TV, about five to six additional minutes are shots of the head coach talking into his headset, yelling at the referee or standing with arms folded in...Alan Boraas
I hope the new education commissioner can reconsider the decision to eliminate the new statewide standardized tests for students, called Alaska Measures of Progress. Admittedly, the AMP tests and reporting could use some tweaking and improvement, but not a complete overhaul, let alone a total replacement. Forget about the financial costs, it’s the time lost that is the most upsetting. For many years, Alaska as a state has scored below average compared to other states on national academic tests. The University of Alaska system has also publicly stated that many Alaska high school graduates are not adequately prepared for college and must take remedial courses during their freshman year to catch up. The Department of Education and Early Development admirably responded to this criticism by...Natasha Von Imhof
On Monday, an Alaska Dispatch News headline read, “ Anchorage Police Department, 82 percent white, tries to diversify its force .” The race-baiters, reading nothing but the headline, immediately went to work on the mayor and the police chief, making inferences about what they assumed the article said. Callers to talk radio programs, social media commenters and those standing around water coolers insinuated the city was ready to lower standards in order to hire more minority police officers -- clearly that isn’t the case, nor is it what the ADN article said. Anchorage has great diversity. As ADN's Jerzy Shedlock reported in the article, “According to research carried out at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the city's Mountain View neighborhood is the most diverse in the country. Three...Mike Dingman
Alaska’s budget problem will improve if oil prices rise high enough in the future and oil production doesn’t fall so fast. It will get worse if oil production slides more and prices remain close to where they are now — overall state oil income could drop to zero. Every prediction combines gambling and guesswork, with no guarantees, though the professional prognosticators agree oil prices won't remain below $40 forever. They are probably right, as commodity prices are subject to wild gyrations. Exactly when prices will rise and by how much is impossible to say. There was much of value in the presentation to legislators Thursday by veteran economist Scott Goldsmith about various plans to transform the Alaska Permanent Fund into an endowment. The Permanent Fund earnings are the largest...Dermot Cole
Taking money from the PFD will put people on the streets The Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is money for the people who live here. It was decided long ago to give us Alaskans who suffer year after year up here a little pay from the interest off that account. Now Gov. Walker wants to take it from us? Not everybody is in the top 10 percent of income, Mr. Gov. Walker! I am disabled and would love to work but that isn’t so for me. I live on less then $15,000 a year. I barely make it from day to day and that PFD in October helps me get caught up on any bills I have. It helps pay house insurance, or the car insurance that the State of Alaska has forced us to have. It also gives me a chance to stock a little extra food in the house for winter or maybe fill up the fuel tank so I don’t freeze to...Alaska Dispatch News
John Gaedeke grew up in a hunting lodge and lives full time on a lake in the Brooks Range guiding tourists . He never thought he was an environmentalist, but now people think he is because he works a second, unpaid job fighting one of Alaska’s zombie megaprojects. The state is still spending millions of dollars on the proposed 211-mile Ambler Road , a route to a mining prospect in Northwest Alaska expected to cost $450 million. “I am not anti-mine and anti-development but I would like to be pro-thought process,” Gaedeke said. “You become an environmentalist if you are against ludicrous development. Which seems like there should be a difference between somebody who is trying to save the whales and somebody who is trying to say this is not financially viable.” During Alaska’s latest phase...Charles Wohlforth
Income taxes are unpopular, but after reading up on our history, I am strongly in favor of one for us today. An income tax is important to our state’s social health and budgetary diversity, it’s a mark of ownership and a declaration of independence from outside influence. I’ve been reading about Ernest Gruening and I’ve noticed some striking similarities between his efforts to enact an income tax and the tax battle today. Allow me to share a few observations from Claus-M. Naske’s book “ Ernest Gruening: Alaska’s Greatest Governor .” When Gruening was appointed governor of the Territory of Alaska in 1939, he believed the most urgent problem we faced was an inadequate revenue system. Alaska’s resources were not being utilized for the benefit of Alaskans; they were being extracted and...Patrick Race
Much attention is being paid to the state's fiscal challenges, as it should be. Although we as community members can play an active role in promoting solutions and communicating with our legislators, the decisions are largely out of our control. There is, however, a major crisis happening in our state that we as individuals can change. I am speaking of our child welfare crisis. There are currently more than 2,800 children in foster care and in the custody of the State of Alaska. There are more than 90 children who are legally free for adoption with no adoption plan in place. We do not know exactly what is causing the drastic increase in these numbers, but we do know that it is not simply the fault of the Office of Children’s Services. This is a community problem and, just like our budget...Donna Walker,Charity Carmody
We parents are often left to wonder if any of the words of wisdom we impart to our children sink in. If there's any evidence that such lessons aren't wasted, it's Anchorage high school student Michael Martinez. The 16-year-old Service High School sophomore just won the Emperor Science Award , a prestigious science research award offered through PBS Learning Media and Stand Up to Cancer . Even when Michael was very young, his mother, Mary Martinez, knew something was different. When other children were scrambling to climb and tumble, Michael would stay to the side, push his glasses into position on his small face, cinch up the shoulder straps of his backpack and go find a spot to read or play with his toys. This disciplined, observant kid seemed to be an old soul. “I provided enrichment, a...Jill Burke
Race reporter should have checked facts more closely I was extremely disappointed to read the article about the Northern Lights 300 titled “Redington too fast for Casillo.” (Jan. 27) I think the author should have done a little research before assuming I struggled with the race. I had no objective to race this year. I had obligations to get 2 rookie mushers to the finish line along with my young team of dogs. I had a completely different team than last year, which Anna raced in the Copper Basin 300, finishing an impressive 13th place this year. I was very pleased with the performance of my very young team and also with the rookie mushers I escorted. I hope the newspaper and the author will correct such an inaccurate account of my race. Also I do not live in Kasilof. I live in Knik, more...Alaska Dispatch News