Columns 2017

Adapting to changing circumstances

Some weeks seem worse than others. This past week was particularly troublesome. We saw a local politician claiming women in Alaska got pregnant to get free trips to Anchorage for abortions. We saw our national representative vote for a healthcare bill that would make rape a pre-existing condition but still mandate insurance coverage of Viagra. And we watched our state senate continue to hide out in Juneau in an attempt to never return to their constituents to face their wrath.

What I do when I find the world crashing in on my head in a really bad way is to Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Ignorance is not bliss

When did it start? When did the idea that being smart, educated and/or sophisticated become a bad thing? When did voters decide that no experience, no expertise and no skills were what made someone qualified to run our government?

I’m pretty sure that if these same voters went to the emergency room with arterial bleeding, they would want someone who actually went to school to learn how to stop it for their doctor. If they needed open-heart surgery they wouldn’t just tap the janitor on the shoulder as they went into the operatory and ask him to perform the surgery Continue reading →

Columns 2017

The miseries of flying

The last time I traveled by plane was just a day after the incident on a United Airlines flight where a customer was dragged off the plane with a bloodied face, missing teeth and a concussion. As I deplaned from my Alaska Airlines flight in Anchorage, I turned to the attendants and pilots waiting at the front of the plane to say goodbye and thanked them for not beating up their customers. This was met by a moment of confused (stunned?) silence. As I continued out the door, I heard a delayed whoop of laughter.

I fly Alaska Airlines almost Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Fantastical thinking… budget category

I’ve always wondered how Republicans can call themselves the party of fiscal conservatism when faced with the stark reality that the federal debt goes up under Republican presidents and down under Democratic presidents. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

And now here we are faced with the same dilemma in Alaska. The Republican majority in the Senate crafts a budget that does not balance the budget; that calls for unspecified cuts in state government that they are too chicken to actually name; that depends on what can only be called voodoo economic reasoning; that relies on pots of money that Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Dan Fauske

The first Fauske I ever met was Dave Fauske, Dan’s brother. Met him and his wife Betty on my first night in Barrow. The second Fauske I met was Dan. Both brothers approached the world as though everyone was a potential friend and almost everyone I know responded back in kind.

Dan died last week. He left us much too early. Yet he still managed to leave a rather impressive legacy. He spent years as the Finance Director of the North Slope Borough, years as the head of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and then headed up the gas line Continue reading →

Columns 2017

It was a strange week indeed

Last week was definitely a strange week. And it had absolutely nothing to do with anything happening in any recently drained and/or refilled swamp.

For starts, the state’s Chamber of Commerce head Curtis Thayer was quoted in a March 28, 2017 ADN article as follows, “’We want to see budget cuts’ said Curtis Thayer, the head of the chamber. If the price of oil rises enough, he added: ‘We’re out of a problem.’”

Are you kidding me? The head of the biggest business group in the state would like us to put our hands together and clap as hard as Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Compromise should not be a dirty word

I want to be gleeful over how the current person pretending to be president (CPPP) had his butt handed to him last week courtesy of the Freedom Caucus. But I can’t because ultimately the American people are the losers.

The ACA is a bill that needs tweaking. It’s not perfect. It’s the first step in providing Americans with the guarantee of health care coverage enjoyed by every other first world country on earth, including Mexico. But because the R’s refused to reach across the aisle to work with D’s, they are stuck trying to negotiate with a faction of their Continue reading →

Columns 2017

What we have is an embarrassment of riches

Writing a weekly column means always worrying about finding a topic for the next one. The horror of staring at a blank document on your computer screen while your mind remains as blank as that document is one of the scariest moments in a writer’s life. Which is why I have finally found something for which to be thankful to the current person pretending to be president (CPPP). As long as he remains in power, he provides an endless supply of topics that need to be addressed. In fact, some might say columnists nowadays are facing an embarrassment of riches. Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Political ethics… more ephemeral than spun sugar

I don’t know about you but I am personally ready to beat on any Alaskan politician claiming to cut the fat from the state budget to make ends meet without offering a single instance of where that fat is.

We are in the middle of a statewide fiscal crisis. Combine the budget gap with the recession and you have a perfect storm for wreaking havoc in the lives of ordinary citizens. Yet our state Senate seems intent on making that situation worse by offering a budget fix that would destroy thousands of jobs, deepen the recession and only be good Continue reading →

Columns 2017

The two levels of American justice

The question all Americans should be asking themselves at this point is why Jeff Sessions is still Attorney General. Or, to phrase it not so politely, why isn’t Jeff Sessions in jail.

He lied to Congress. He took an oath, swore to tell the truth and then outright lied. He is the top law enforcement officer in our country. His actions should be above reproach. But instead, he lies under oath and then tries to squirm out of it by claiming he met with Russian officials as a member of the Senate and not as a campaign advisor.

It’s hard Continue reading →