Have Americans lost hope? The trust-deficit between them and their policymakers is distressingly large, with only 19 percent, according to an October Pew poll, who say that they have faith that the government will do what is right just about always or most of the time. Thankfully, not all is lost. Americans still have faith in some institutions, generally for those that truly protect freedoms and preserve livelihoods, like the military and small businesses. In fact, when it comes to job creation and the economy, Americans value the opinions of small-business owners more than any other institution, likely because small-business leaders across the nation have remained committed to hard work, to job-creation and to building communities, while many in Washington have become preoccupied with...Denny DeWitt
Editor's note: The following video contains a Thanksgiving Day message for 2013 from Alaska's first family, Governor Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell. Below it is the governor's official proclamation marking our national day of thanks. Alaska governor's official 2013 Thanksgiving Day proclamation WHEREAS, after surviving a harsh first winter, the Pilgrims had their first successful growing season in the New World, thanks in part to the traditional knowledge imparted by members of the Wampanoag tribe and other Native Americans. Historically, we recognize the commemorative feast enjoyed together in 1621 as the “First Thanksgiving;” and WHEREAS, President George Washington responded to a resolution of Congress by proclaiming Thursday the 26th of November 1789 to be a day of “public...Sean Parnell
Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings -- the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad. This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans. Our annual celebration has roots in centuries-old colonial customs. When we gather around the table, we follow the example of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, who shared the fruits of a successful harvest nearly 400 years ago. When we offer our thanks, we mirror those who set aside a day of prayer. And when we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln...President Barack Obama
When President Obama first took office he pledged to resolve the Guantanamo detentions and close the facility by January 22, 2010. Instead, I read in the Anchorage Daily News last month that 53 Alaska National Guardsmen in the 761st Military Police Battalion at JBER were deployed to Guantanamo. We sent our soldiers away from their homes and families to guard the remaining 164 prisoners at Guantanamo. Over half of these detainees have been cleared for transfer yet many have been held for more than a decade in legal limbo. Anchorage has been my home since 1992. As a human rights activist, I have learned to write letters to foreign heads of state on behalf of those who are being subjected to human right abuses like torture or being detained by the government without charge or trial. I have...Kathy Harris
A state that is 90 percent dependent on oil revenues cannot afford to lose 200,000 barrels of production each day -- and continue to prosper. Yet that has been the state’s fate under the ill-advised oil tax policy known as ACES. Since ACES passed in 2007, North Slope production has fallen almost 31 percent while production is up everywhere else in the nation. ACES caused Alaska to miss out on the oil boom brought about by high oil prices. That should concern every Alaskan interested in good jobs, a sound economy and a bright future. It certainly raised my hackles, which is why I joined with other Alaska businesses, Native leaders, unions and a broad cross-section of individual Alaskans to form the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition (MACC) three years ago to advocate for a change to ACES...Lynn Johnson
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is written for publication by a federal agency whose goal is to transparently coordinate permitting and construction of a pipeline that delivers Alaska's natural gas to the Lower 48. The big three North Slope oil and gas producers working toward a multibillion-dollar Alaska liquefied natural gas export project have substantial LNG investments across the globe. In some cases these investments go back decades. Taken together, Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips own stakes in LNG production plants in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and North America. In addition, Exxon Mobil owns an interest in two of the dozen or so plants under construction worldwide, while ConocoPhillips has a piece of a third project. Each company also is in...Bill White
Does Senate Bill 21 violate Article 8 of the Alaska Constitution? It's time for the courts to answer this question. Article 8 of the Alaska Constitution isn't the only question SB 21 places on the table. Does SB 21 violate the principles of public domain resource management prudence? Given the obvious irreparable damage, would the court grant an injunction on the implementation of SB-21 before it takes effect in January? Would the court rule, as they did with elected judges, on how close is too close before recusal is required? Article 8 and the Legislature I believe the Alaska Legislature's management of our resources is bound by common law to follow comparable commonly practiced methods of management resulting in commonly realized market-based proceeds in exchange for the right to...Ray Metcalfe
FAIRBANKS -- My brother, Patrick Cole, the longtime chief of staff of the City of Fairbanks, died Thursday of complications following a heart transplant operation at the University of Washington Medical Center. He had been in Seattle since the summer, preparing for a transplant made necessary by the congenital heart problems that nearly did him in last spring. Pat had continued working part-time at the City of Fairbanks as his health allowed, taking part in meetings via the Internet and phone, writing ordinances and labor contracts, tasks that struck him as endlessly fascinating. On Sunday at noon, he sent the latest draft of a proposed contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to City Attorney Paul Ewers for review, saying he had just been notified of a possible...Dermot Cole
If the Americans who lived through the 1940s have come to be known as "The Greatest Generation," are the unfortunate of children of today destined to be saddled with the label of "The Slowest Generation?" Or maybe "The Sedentary Generation?" There is deeply troubling news on this front out of the American Heart Association conference this week that kids who've long been getting fatter are also getting slower. Researchers are reporting the average kid today takes a whopping 90 seconds longer to run a mile than a kid of the same age 30 years ago, according to a summary of the research by Voice of America . Translate 90 seconds a mile into the time for your local 5-kilometer fun run and the kids of today are a staggering 4 minutes and 30 seconds behind the times of their parents. Serious...Craig Medred
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance (AFCA) recently announced plans to seek approval to gather signatures for a future statewide ballot initiative seeking to prohibit setnets from urban areas, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Valdez, Juneau and Ketchikan in the name of conserving salmon stocks. I've never heard anyone in Fairbanks complain about setnets threatening local salmon stocks. There are no commercial set net fisheries in Valdez, Juneau or Ketchikan. This effort is clearly targeting the Upper Cook Inlet setnet fishery and its harvest of king salmon bound for rivers on the road system, but the AFCA is hoping that Alaskan voters aren't smart enough to figure that out. This initiative is a conservation issue in name only. Its true goal is to reallocate fish from commercial to...Zach Hill