Columns 2003

An aging Easy Rider hag

Thanks to the unrelenting persistence of a good friend who thinks that exercise will help keep me alive, I am now the proud owner of a bright red recumbent tricycle with a basket on the back and a little bell on the handlebars covered in an American flag motif. As I go down the back roads of South Anchorage on this trike, I imagine I look like an aging Easy Rider hag reduced to pedaling a recumbent three-wheeler around to get my excitement quotient for the day.

My dog is conflicted about this whole trike idea. He can now do

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Columns 2003

Cutting social programs inevitably hurts us all

As the budget process wends its painful way through the halls of Juneau, I figure I might as well throw in my two cents.  It’s inevitable that as state revenues continue to decline, cuts will be made and additional financial commitments will be required of us no matter how much people yell and scream. No matter what you call it, when you propose taking money out of people’s pockets, they are going to be very vocally dismayed.

As cuts are pondered, let me offer this suggestion to our legislators. If you are going to cut the substance abuse rehab programs,

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Columns 2003

Tie PFD to vote and watch percentages increase

As has become the sadly usual routine in America, only about 30% of the electorate voted in our recent election.  While we fight a war half a world away to bring the freedom to vote to the Iraqi people, the American voter is lethargic at best and apathetic at worse when it comes to one of the greatest privileges our country offers and our constitution guarantees.

I voted.  I had no choice. I have too many relatives in heaven watching me to not vote.  They’d curse me with the Italian evil eye in a heartbeat if they thought for a

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Columns 2003

Robert Sakkaaluk Aiken Sr., a good man I’ll miss

Robert Sakkaaluk Aiken Sr. died last week.  I first met him when he worked in maintenance at the Indian Health Service Hospital in Barrow in 1972. Most people are more familiar with his son, Big Bob Aiken, who has been a central part of the Eskimo Indian Olympics since the days when he could carry what seemed like a dozen men around the gym without getting winded.  Big Bob came by his strength, both physical and spiritual, from his mother and father.

Robert Aiken Sr. was simply the biggest man in Barrow in both the physical and spiritual sense. Although

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Columns 2003

Recite Preamble instead of Pledge – learn what America is really about

There seems to be a whole lot of angst swirling around the Pledge of Allegiance lately.  What many people don’t know is just how young the pledge itself is. It was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy who was subsequently forced out of his ministry because of his socialist beliefs.

At the time he wrote the pledge, Bellamy was the chairman of a committee of state superintendents in the National Education Association.  He left the word equality out of his pledge, despite the fact that it is one of three ideals this country represents – liberty,

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Columns 2003

The law is different if you’re rich – ask MIchael

I imagine that someday in the future, we will view the Michael Jackson interview as one of those moments when you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you saw it.  Not unlike the death of JFK or Martin Luther King, it will be a moment when, looking back at it from a future perspective, we will all realize that the ground shifted under our feet to reveal a truth we had been desperately trying to deny.  That truth is that if you are very rich, a very different law applies to your behavior.

America likes

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Columns 2003

How many breakups can one city have?

I think it is just wrong of God or any higher power in this universe to expect Alaskans to endure two break ups in one year.  So whoever it is in charge of the weather, I’m giving you fair warning. I’d better not see snow falling and cold weather returning at this point in the year.

Of course, I’m also not sure I can handle cloudy skies and rain from now till next November.  If I had wanted that kind of weather, I’d have gone to Juneau. I came to Anchorage because in all my years of stopping here on

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Columns 2003

Abortion laws can open Pandora’s box

I find that abortion is one of those topics, like religion and politics, which is best left out of lunchtime conversations unless you are very sure about the opinion of the other people at the table.  From my very unscientific observations, I find that the majority of women I know question whether they could personally have an abortion but they are pretty firm that they don’t feel they should tell other women what to do.

The current lawsuit working its way through the state court system isn’t about a women’s right to an abortion per se. It’s about whether or

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Columns 2003

Parents need to teach kids about cops

A friend of mine recently commented that part of the problem at the teen dance at the Egan Center over Fur Rondy was that parents no longer teach their children how to respond to the police or how to act when stopped by them.  I thought about that and realized that I never actually remember my parents teaching me that either. I just remember that we were always expected to be respectful to the police and to go to them if we were in trouble. Seen from that perspective, the actions of the teens who went up to the cops

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Columns 2003

Locked in a bird cage becomes a defining moment

I think that everyone in his or her lifetime has certain defining moments. Moments when you know that how you act, how you conduct yourself, will say more about who you are than you would perhaps want the world to really know.

I had one of those defining moments recently.  In the general scheme of things, I think I can now definitely say I am not the person you want with you in case of emergency. I am not the person who will remain calm, cool and collected.

I am the person who will break into a cold sweat, lose

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