Things were put on hold there for awhile because of Thanksgiving, but Alaska’s political scene was on the move again this past week. Here are some highlights:
Senate candidate Dan Sullivan started the week off at a reportedly healthy event at the Martinson’s residence on the Hillside. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who isn’t even up for re-election until 2016, held an event to raise campaign bucks at the Bittner’s home closer to downtown. There was a luncheon to benefit the campaign coffers of Rep. Bill Stoltze and Sen. Kevin Meyer. And to round the week out, the Alaska Democratic Party held Continue reading
Thursday began as a very good day for U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. Roll Call, an inside-the-beltway publication owned by Congressional Quarterly, wrote a story about his campaign, highlighting that he worked for Condoleezza Rice in the Bush administration, his time in Alaska as the state’s attorney general and as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. It mentioned his service in the Marine Corps, and that he was deployed as a reservist to Afghanistan this summer.
“Sullivan’s résumé reads straight out of a Republican textbook,” Roll Call wrote.
Most importantly for Sullivan’s campaign, the article suggested that Sullivan might Continue reading
From the Wall Street Journal:
“BP has complained for months it has been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that filed damage claims after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster – even though they weren’t really affected. Now, the court-appointed lawyer supervising those payments has confirmed he approved a $173,000 payout to an ‘adult escort service’ that BP said was filed with unsigned and undated financial documents.”
BP’s fighting back with an ad campaign that reads, “The IRS wouldn’t accept this claim. But the Gulf Settlement Program did.” Maybe it’s just me, but whether or Continue reading
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott spoke to a friendly crowd of about 30 people on Thursday at the Democratic Bartlett Club in Anchorage. Without using notes, he spoke for about 40 minutes on subjects ranging from education to oil to declining state coffers. With every subject, he was able to weave in the central theme of his campaign: unifying all Alaskans.
Bringing Alaskans together has been Mallott’s theme since he announced he was running for governor in mid-October. He didn’t deliver a tub -thumper, but his stump speech has gotten Continue reading
To the surprise of some, and maybe the amusement of others, Gov. Sean Parnell announced on Tuesday that he’s not planning to introduce natural gas tax legislation to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Currently, natural gas is taxed at roughly the same rate as is oil, but it’s only worth a fraction of what oil is.
Parnell says he’s not doing so because the companies that have the lease rights to the natural gas, and who would build the line that would carry the gas from the North Slope to tidewater, haven’t met all of the benchmarks he set Continue reading
Former Alaska legislator Niilo Koponen died peacefully at the Fairbanks Pioneer Home on Tuesday. As one person put it on his Facebook page, “(t)hey don’t seem to make Alaska legislators these days like Niilo Koponen.” There will be a memorial gathering to honor his life at Pioneer Park Civic Center in the afternoon of Jan. 5, 2014. More information will be posted on the family blog here.
Here’s a short remembrance written by a grandson, Max, republished below with permission of the family:
“He was born in 1928. He grew up in Continue reading
Last evening, I posted an article about Brad Keithley’s allegations against the UAA athletics program and UAA Chancellor Tom Case. Keithley claims that he is in the process of being barred from any association with UAA athletics. He says that it’s because he’s been critical of the athletic program, that he expressed concerns to Case about the hiring of a UAA women’s basketball coach who had a reputation in other schools and who resigned shortly after he was hired amid allegations of “professional misconduct.” He also wrote to the university about a student athlete who felt uncomfortable working with Continue reading
Joe Napolitan, credited with coining the term “political consultant,” died on Monday. Napolitan worked on over 100 campaigns and served on the campaign staffs of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He has worked on every continent and has been a personal consultant to nine foreign heads of state. He was the founder and first president of the American Association of Political Consultants and co-founder of the International Association of Political Consultants.
Closer to home, Napolitan played an instrumental role in two statewide Alaska races. He served as the chief strategist and consultant to Mike Gravel, who won a big upset in the Continue reading
New allegations have surfaced about UAA’s athletic department which include accusations that the UAA chancellor’s office turned a blind eye to improper treatment of at least one female athlete. Brad Keithley, a lawyer and a possible candidate for governor, is making these allegations on his website. He is also charging that UAA is involved in retribution against him for, among other things, speaking about these issues. Keithley says he is in the process of being permanently barred from further association with its athletic programs
These are serious allegations, and I’ll try to get a response from the university on Continue reading
Anybody who’s gone through a dark night of the soul in Alaska knows that it can be especially long and dark this time of year. Alaska’s always a harsh place, and it begins to feel intensely that way come mid-November, when the sky’s mostly gun metal grey, the sun only a brief tease.
But people help. Remembering what we’re grateful for helps too. Sen. Lisa Murkowski understands this. She recently put out a call to Alaskans to tweet about what they’re thankful for. One person wrote that she’s grateful that Continue reading
On Thursday, Kriner’s Diner, the small box of a family restaurant perched on the hill on C Street before Fireweed, is opening its doors to any and all looking for a Thanksgiving meal. It’s free, and it’s in keeping with the spirit of the business.
The building that houses Kriner’s has seen all sorts of restaurants come and go since I’ve lived here. I have eaten at all of them and while some were worthy of success, they all felt transitory. But there’s something about Kriner’s which feels like it’s going to stick. It feels right, like it belongs, like the Continue reading
Dahlia Lithwick on the Supreme Court’s decision to hear if companies must offer contraceptive coverage to employees:
“Citizens United taught us that corporations count as people when it comes to campaign speech. Does this weird concept of personhood extend to their religious rights? The 10th Circuit said yes. The 3rd Circuit said no. More questions: Does the birth-control coverage benefit substantially burden a company’s exercise of its religious rights, if it has them? Is the contraception mandate nevertheless justified by compelling government interests because it is a vitally important element of affording women equality in health care?”
I’ve stayed away from Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s tennis mess, mostly because I haven’t really kept track from the beginning on what’s going on. And I didn’t keep track from the beginning because I had no idea the tennis courts would actually turn into a big story. Who can blame me?
And part of the reason it’s turned into a big story is that the story continues to change. There appears to be a new wrinkle just about every other day or so, and now, those wrinkles have pitted Sullivan against Alaska state Rep. Bill Stoltze, the powerful co-chair of House Continue reading
For the past few weeks, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and a handful of other Senate Democrats have been sending out emails trying to get voters to sign a petition urging Congress to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allows for unlimited giving to super PACS.
It’s unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. For one, it’s rare for Congress to pass a law that directly conflicts with a Supreme Court decision. And even if it does, the Supreme Court would have to be convinced to change its mind. Secondly, it’s unlikely that Congress will change the Continue reading
On Sunday in Geneva, Iran agreed with the U.S. and five other world powers to freeze or reverse much of the progress that the country has made at its key nuclear facilities, including capping or eliminating stockpiles of uranium, not adding new centrifuges, and daily monitoring by international inspectors. In exchange, Iran will experience a modest lessening of international sanctions.
President Obama and others have called the agreement historic, and say it’s a precursor to a wider agreement in six months. Not everybody is thrilled. Those who aren’t include Israel and some Continue reading