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My social media feeds are stuffed with my fellow Alaskans sick to death of political ads end-to-end on their televisions, and even the staunchest pro-deforestation people are wondering if we'll have any trees left after they've checked their mailboxes. I get emails from people asking, "Is that true?" about something they've seen or read.

Here's the kicker. Political ads, per a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, don't have to be true. I KNOW! You have to swear on a Bible when you're elected, but up until that point all bets are off. Did you know Mark Begich hates puppies? Yeah, and ice cream. Seriously, why doesn't he just join the Taliban?...

Shannyn Moore

Making a crime out of conduct that half of us don’t think should be a crime? That’s crazy. All crimes should be supported by public consensus. That’s a standard just about everybody agrees on -- until it comes to marijuana. Choose regulation, maybe, for practices about which we disagree, but stick to consensus in defining crimes.

Marijuana criminalization is a craziness that Americans have been engaged with for more than half a century. The criminal prohibition of manufacture or possession of alcohol was the last time a slight majority squeezed conduct through as a crime that half of us (or more) didn’t think was criminal. We have produced all the same negative results with marijuana criminalization...

John Havelock

It's mid-October, 118 miles from the Arctic Circle. Time for a walk to work.

Since I last wrote about my 3-mile commute through the raindrops of August, the 1,100 acres of boreal forest between my house and the university have undergone the most drastic change of the year. Ankle-deep snow covers the north campus and most of Interior Alaska.

Steps on the forest floor, which sinks like a frozen pie crust, are silent. Wet snow soaked the crunch out of leaves. It's quieter still because thousands of bodies have moved on from their temporary occupation of the spruce. The kinglets, warblers, thrushes and even the lagging juncos have made their final leaps from northern branches...

Ned Rozell

As with all tight elections these days, a small number of independent, fair-minded voters will be the ones who determine if Alaska will get marijuana retail stores under Ballot Measure 2.

I don’t think these swing voters will be persuaded by unrealistic pro-marijuana promises, such as saying pot shops would create 10,000 jobs and taxes will build new schools. And they’ll easily dismiss the conspiracy theories that long-time marijuana users often spout.

But one argument no doubt appealing to any reasonable voter is the very first sentence of Ballot Measure 2 that says police should focus on violent and property crime, rather than marijuana. A related theme is that adults with small amounts for private use shouldn’t go to prison...

Dean Guaneli

My parents were born in Cordova in the 1920s and moved to Juneau in 1953. Our home was near the governor’s house, and I fondly recall having snowball fights with Gov. Bill Egan. The governor usually tossed snow first and he always knew our names...

Bob Jacobsen

In this clustered mess of a campaign season, fueled by a bunch of turbo-rich Outlanders with a bone to pick and not a damn to give about Alaskans, you’re all aware that this extraordinary level of mud-slinging in political TV ads is not normal. One in particular has me a little miffed -- a little National Republican Senatorial Committee ad that tabled a few accusations against the Begich campaign for criticizing Lt. Col. Dan Sullivan’s service with the U.S. Marines.

That’s cute.

The Sen. Begich I know would never stand for such a travesty; nor would his staff or supporters...

Bryan Box
Same-sex marriage fight a waste of time and money

The Parnell administration’s challenge to the equal rights marriage court rulings is like a football team still huddling on its own one-yard line frantically trying to design a 99-yard scoring drive after the other team has won, celebrated and gone home.

What a waste of time and money!

— Russ Redick Anchorage

Picking same-sex marriage story for Page 1 outrageous

I cannot believe that your best choice for front page news is about same-sex marriage. It is an outrage that one judge thinks he is smarter than the people in Alaska who voted to ban this. This is supposed to be a democracy where people’s votes count...

Alaska Dispatch News

Oil prices have been relatively stable in the past few years, a Department of Revenue analyst said Wednesday, addressing the new state board charged with assessing Alaska’s competitive position in the oil and gas world.

Stable, he said, until about a month ago, “when all hell broke loose.”

Just a day earlier, Gov. Sean Parnell, while debating independent challenger Bill Walker in Fairbanks, mentioned “today’s oil prices,” which he said were in the $88 to $90 range. But he was quoting numbers from last week.

The price for Alaska oil dipped to $82.80 on Tuesday and $82.16 on Wednesday...

Dermot Cole

Those of us lucky enough to work with Alaska salmon are truly blessed. We work in the most pristine and beautiful environment in the world, in the world’s best-managed and most-sustainable fishery. During the past decade we have seen prices rise as the Alaska brand has become recognized by consumers everywhere as the model of quality, flavor and reliability...

Mark Palmer

Science! Technology! Engineering! Mathematics! Some people want to look the other way with just the thought of the complexity of these subjects. Others jump into them headfirst. Both groups, as well as those in the middle of this spectrum, benefit from advances in these fields. Recent employment studies demonstrate that STEM careers in Alaska will outpace all other careers for the foreseeable future. While predicting the future is difficult, and not a place to bet the farm -- or the oil patch -- preparing all Alaska students for these careers is undoubtedly a safe investment that will pay off for years to come...

Mike Fenster