Columns 2008

In the hope of offending one and all, Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas

It being Christmas, I thought I’d write a column about volunteers since this seems to be the right season to remember all those who offer freely of their time and energy to make our world a little better place. I was thinking of everyone from CASAs to the ushers at the PAC. Each gives a little of themselves to something that is particularly near and dear to their hearts in the hope that by doing so, they can share their enthusiasms with others.

During this holiday season, people seem more in tune with the need to return some of the

Continue reading → “In the hope of offending one and all, Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas”
Columns 2008

Alaska fashion….how the real world dresses

Whenever I travel outside of Alaska, I notice a very curious phenomenon.  On starting the trip, I usually think I look pretty good.  Of course, in today’s world of air travel, that statement needs to be taken in the context of a situation in which you all but have to strip naked to get through security.

So by good I mean that I have on clean underwear and clothes that are easily removed. with pockets easy to empty. I wear a wrinkle proof outfit that can withstand nights in airports waiting for missed and canceled connections. I wear pants with

Continue reading → “Alaska fashion….how the real world dresses”
Columns 2008

George Bush is no Richard Nixon

As America’s Current Occupier winds down his disastrous years in office, he is giving interviews to the big three networks. I watched the first interview with Charles Gibson until I could no longer handle the pain. Did we really elect this man to the office once held by Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln? Or, for god’s sake, Chester B. Arthur?

I think it is an interesting juxtaposition that at the same time as Bush stumbles and bumbles his way through these fairly controlled moments of media access, a movie titled “Frost/Nixon” is released. The movie, based on a Broadway play, is

Continue reading → “George Bush is no Richard Nixon”
Columns 2008

We talk big and act small

Foster kids aren’t the only ones tired of telling their story over and over to new caseworkers because of the chronic staff turnover experienced by the Office of Children’s Services.  GALs frequently work cases where three or four social worker changes during the case are not at all unusual.  They are often the only ones with the complete history of the case and they tell it over and over again as social workers come and go.

Most GALs want to work with the social worker assigned to their cases because families and children can only benefit when everyone is pulling

Continue reading → “We talk big and act small”
Columns 2008

Pass the turkey leg and forget the politicians

Since I’m not really what you would call a holiday kind of person, if forced to choose a holiday to celebrate, I always choose Thanksgiving.  It’s about food, family, insane after dinner board games, and a long night of sleeping off a turkey high. No gift shopping involved, no strange looks from the gift recepients. What’s not to love?

As I left for my Thanksgiving trip to the lower 48, I wondered how this one would differ from others now that Alaska’s governor has become a media superstar, almost eclipsing the omnipresent Paris Hilton in adoring coverage by magazines I

Continue reading → “Pass the turkey leg and forget the politicians”
Columns 2008

Athletics shouldn’t outrank academics

Our schools’ report cards don’t look very good. That’s sad because children who didn’t use their educational opportunities to full advantage will always be a step behind those who did. It’s scary because, to beat a trite old phrase to death, these kids are our future and our future doesn’t seem to be able to read or do math.

As we run around trying to figure out why Johnny can’t read and Susie can’t do math, I think we should peek into a corner that is traditionally left untouched because of its sensitive nature.  In fact, as my fingers move

Continue reading → “Athletics shouldn’t outrank academics”
Columns 2008

Finally some blessed silence

For just a moment there was blessed silence.  No one screaming at me, telling me what to think, who to vote for, how many felons were in our congressional delegation. For just a moment, it was safe to answer the phone because there wouldn’t be a robo call at the other end pretending to be a personal message. It wouldn’t be a poll asking questions that made your blood boil; questions like “Are you pro life?” Seriously, how do you answer no to that?

Usually, by the time I finished stewing over the telephone poll, I’d already be hearing another

Continue reading → “Finally some blessed silence”
Columns 2008

America be proud…Alaska not so much

I sit here wondering what I can possible say that hasn’t already been said about this historic election.  It’s probably the first time I’ve cried listening to a politician since the day I attended Bobby Kennedy’s funeral in New York and listened to his brother’s eulogy for him.

A few days before the election, I listened to Public Radio International report in which commentators from a variety of European countries were interviewed about their take on the upcoming election.  One of them said something that really stuck in my mind. He said that Europe was watching our election in rapt

Continue reading → “America be proud…Alaska not so much”
Columns 2008

My choices in 08… and why

One of my parents’ cardinal rules was that the secrecy of the ballot box was sacred. It was what made America stand out. Politicians could not punish us for the way we voted because they had no right to know how we voted.

Since our current Occupier and his administration have made a mockery of that notion by politicizing everything they’ve touched, I’ve decided, after twenty years of writing a newspaper column, it’s time for me to break the silence of my vote.

I look around at the debris and detritus that was once our great nation and its constitution,

Continue reading → “My choices in 08… and why”
Columns 2008

The rich are so different

Here’s how it works in my world. If I want renovations done on my home, I call a contractor. I tell him exactly what I want. He provides an estimate. I gulp and realize once again that my wallet and dreams live in two different zip codes. I reassess my wants. He renegotiates his costs. I give him a down payment. He starts work. He bills me periodically throughout the job. I pay the bills. When it’s done, we shake hands…assuming we are still talking to each other at that point, which is usually six months later than estimated…and go

Continue reading → “The rich are so different”