Columns 2017

Alaska Senate destroying Alaska educational system

As Anchorage lays off over two hundred teachers and you can literally hear the Alaska Senate flushing the toilet on any hope of a quality education here, I find myself thinking more and more of my father.

He was taken out of school when he was 14 to go to work. It was the Depression. His mother was already renting out rooms to borders. His dad was working full time. But it wasn’t enough. So his education was sacrificed to the family’s need for more income.

My Nona never said this was the reason. Instead, she insisted that the doctors Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Deja-vu all over again

It’s deja vu all over again. Our Alaska legislature did not finish their business on schedule. They didn’t finish in the ninety days the citizens of Alaska voted for. They didn’t finish in the 120 days the constitution allows. And I’m going to venture a guess that they won’t finish during one special session. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Christmas doesn’t find them still holed up in Juneau afraid to come back and face their constituents.

I don’t know why we just don’t admit that we no longer have a part time legislature. Let them stay in Juneau Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Why do script writers hate women?

I spent Mother’s Day thinking about mothers and women in general as portrayed in the media. I was struck by how many mothers/wives/girlfriends, etc., die in media productions. For instance, in NCIS, the main star, Gibbs, loses his first wife to a drug dealer and an ex-wife to a revenge bullet through her head. We find out in flashbacks that his mother died when he was a young teenager.

A bullet to the head also killed the first female agent on the show. The wife of the purported head of NCIS is killed in a drive by shooting while having Continue reading →

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 →