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AMBLER -- Last month in Anchorage I had lunch with Susan Johnson -- formerly Susan MacManus . We talked about the old days, growing up at Paungaqtaugruk along the Kobuk River, and later times in the villages. We laughed a lot, as we always do, and Susan reminded me of things I'd forgotten, which these days seems like nearly everything.

A few weeks later I had dinner with my friend Tom, who was a Kotzebue-based VISTA volunteer in the 1970s for the then-newly-formed Maniilaq Association. More memories came back over that meal, too. He first came to Paungaqtaugruk 25 years ago when I was a kid. Wait, no! Thirty-five years ago...

Seth Kantner

Obamacare, it turns out, is just another in a long string of big lies from the political left. A huge, complicated fantasy cloaked in gibberish, it is a whopper so enormous, so monstrous it could transform the United States into something unrecognizable if it is not stopped.

Why lie in creating the law? The left -- surprise! -- says it believes you are too stupid to handle the truth; that Obamacare is designed to fail; that it will cost too much; that it is a massive redistribution of wealth from the young to the old; that it is a first, necessary step to the single-payer, socialized health care system of its dreams.

In fact, it fears you are too smart, so the left does what it must to survive -- it lies...

Paul Jenkins

"It is a very remarkable fact that a region under a civilized government for more than a century should remain so completely unknown as the vast territory drained by the Copper, Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers."

So wrote Henry Allen more than a century ago in a government report on his muscle-powered journey from the mouth of the Copper River to the mouth of the Yukon, from where he returned by steamship to the Lower 48. Pushing on when Native guides wouldn't join him for fear of starvation, Allen and a few tattered comrades traveled from near present-day Cordova up to what is now Bettles. They then turned around and then beat winter to St. Michael, where they jumped the last boat for San Francisco...

Ned Rozell
Dumbed down for Young

Silly woman, Nicolle Carbone (Letters, Nov. 14). Of course we are cutting education funds, decreasing the number of teachers and dumbing down our schools. How else can you stifle critical thinking? And it’s already working: We elected Don Young again.

— Shirley Fraser Anchorage

History sides with victor

I believe everyone’s facts are accurate in discussing the Civil War. The South was clearly being taxed unfairly. Lincoln made statements that identified him as a white supremacist. Grant had slaves and on and on.

Why would a Northerner want 4 million black workers released to compete with his labor? Would Americans have volunteered to fight for oil in Iraq? History always sides with the victor...

Alaska Dispatch News

When the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council meets this week, it has some important unfinished business it should address. After 25 years, government studies confirm that many of the fish and wildlife populations, habitats and resource services have yet to recover from the 1989 spill, and some are not recovering at all.

A take-home lesson is that, after a large marine oil spill, we simply cannot “restore” an injured ecosystem. The most (and least) we can do is to protect the ecosystem from additional harm, allowing it the best possible opportunity to recover. And on that, the state of Alaska and U.S. government have fallen short, and have a lot of unfinished business...

Rick Steiner

The first snowfall of the year brings a rash of ditch divers and car crashes. My kids had a 1-to-10 rating system for the roadside wrecks. To score a 10, the driver had to cross all four lanes of traffic, clear the guardrail, do a complete roll or somersault and land on their wheels without apparent damage or hitting another car. You can come up with your own way of scoring these esoteric skills...

Fred Dyson

To all all patriots and those who are unsure of what true patriotism is: Thank you for taking the time to read this commentary and for remembering our veterans this week.

I am a retired U.S. Army sergeant.

We honor and thank the veterans for risking their lives so we can be free to live our daily lives. We especially want to remember and pay tribute to the veterans who gave their lives or lost limbs in wars. I ask you to remember them and their families in prayer, for they have paid the ultimate price for your freedom and liberty. Remember the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who every day risk dying from bombs or snipers...

Barry Thomas

This week, the canceling of the Anchorage Baptist Temple’s high school wrestling tournament made news. The school was asked by the Alaska School Activities Association not to lead a public prayer at the event.

Nothing doing, said the school’s administrators, who said prayer was part of the private Christian school’s identity. The issue got even larger when it became the topic of pastor Jerry Prevo’s most recent sermon, where he claimed the recent request by the state’s activities association was waging a “battle against prayer” in public schools...

Carey Restino
Economic security won’t wait

With a change in Congress, we might expect the start of the Keystone pipeline. This will further flood the market with oil, depress prices, and torpedo ANWR. Our pipeline won’t last till the need reoccurs in 30-50 years. We didn’t push before, so now is possibly the last chance for Alaska’s economic future.

— Ken Mears Anchorage

Carey has his history wrong

It’s time to refute Michael Carey’s politically correct view that slavery started the Civil War (ADN, Nov. 11). Consider this long suppressed quote from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant: “If I thought this war was to abolish slavery, I would resign my commission and offer my sword to the other side.” (Grant owned slaves until the 13th Amendment abolished slavery after the war.)...

Alaska Dispatch News

Standing with tens of thousands of others on Bernauer Strasse in Berlin last Sunday evening, as 7,000 large, illuminated, helium-filled balloons were set free into the dark sky and the crowds cheered and clapped for joy, one could be pardoned for being overwhelmed. News outlets reported that a million people were out in Berlin that night, taking part in what Berliners called “25th Mauerfall,” the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. The balloons were spaced about 10 feet apart all along the 14-kilometer path of the wall through central Berlin; people had been walking the route all weekend, and various displays recounted the sad history of the DDR, the East German state, and the euphoria of Nov. 9, 1989, when one of every four East Germans crossed into the West...

Steve Haycox