Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 12.24

  • The LA Times reports that the FDA is just now going to allow homosexuals to donate blood but only if they are celibate. The Huffington Post explains why the new, yearlong moratorium on gay men from their last sexual encounter before they can donate blood is dumb and discriminatory. Blood banks across the country are constantly screaming for blood donations. If you would like to give the gift of life this holiday season, contact the Blood Bank of Alaska.
  • The Juneau Empire reports that our lefty city to the south has upped its street cred by earning a bronze medal from the League of American Bicyclists for being a bicycle-friendly community.

  • The Hill explains why the U.S.’s 5% economic growth is putting a smile on Pres. Obama’s face.
  • The annual legislatively mandated audit of the Alaska Department of Corrections found that there was room for improvement, per the Dispatch.
  • CNBC explains what 6.4 million people enrolled in means to the economy, politics and life.
  • The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is following negotiations between the Fairbanks North Star Borough and its three labor unions. Unions want more money and time off. The borough says it can’t afford it.
  • Alaska’s population has never been the stuff to write home about but now it seems that our state has lost more residents than gained and has found itself ranked 48th out of 50 for population. We beat Vermont and Wyoming, so there’s that!
  • So, it turns out that Romney lost not because he was the wrong candidate for 2012, but according to the RNC chairman; the problem was due to the unnecessarily intense primaries that left little time for pivoting back to the political center.
  • The Juneau Empire has all of the city’s holiday events and closure information.
  • The state Democratic Party is behind a petition to show support for police officers.
  • Politico has compiled their best political moments into a photo essay.
  • Time for some funny! The Washington Post has the top 12 political sketches of 2014.
  • Headline of the day, courtesy of the New York Daily News, “Ho, ho, ho! Sarah Palin wishes fans holiday cheer as sweater falls down.”

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6 thoughts on “Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 12.24

  1. Mike Coons

    Well, guess I will make arrangements if I need surgery for a pre-surgery blood draw from myself for auto-transfusion. I guess next the FDA will allow IV drug users to donate blood as well.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Amanda

  2. Lynn Willis

    There were a couple of articles today in the ADN regarding the Department of Corrections and this audit and, after reading both of them, I don’t understand what is going on with this. The reference article (Alaska Department of Corrections has room for improvement, audit finds) states: ” A yearlong, legislatively mandated performance review of the Alaska Department of Corrections found that the agency is “moderately effective” when conducting its primary functions of confining inmates in jails and supervising them on release.” The article further reports that: ” The $320,000 audit, compiled by Sacramento-based firm CGL, is the first fruit of a 2013 state law that mandates an exhaustive performance and budgetary audit of every state department at least once per decade. The Department of Corrections was the first agency picked to get an audit under the new law.” Also, the article reports that another $23,000 was spent to expand the audit into the area of prisoner health care.
    Another article today in the ADN (Corrections department irks lawmakers as they search for savings) cites what appears to be the same audit of the Department in an entirely different context. This article states: “In short, the (Corrections Department) offered potential concepts for 10 percent budget reductions but did not submit an actual plan for reduced spending, arguing that reductions of this magnitude would make it impossible for the department to perform its mission,” CGL said in a report released last week”. Also,: “Lawmakers weren’t happy with the department’s approach. House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, who sponsored the performance review bill last session with several other legislators, said in an emailed statement Monday the report provides findings that highlight the agency’s strengths and weaknesses. But he is “quite concerned” the department did not comply with the law.”
    So what did we receive for this total $343,000 worth of audits? Did we receive what the legislature intended or just some good advice with the original purpose not achieved? Regarding the purpose of this effort which was to obtain information relating to cost savings, we paid $320,000 for this observation in the audit summary: ” DOC did not provide a specific list of proposed budget reductions, as required by performance review statutes.”
    I am beyond asking the state to do anything for itself without hiring a contractor (preferably from out of state); however, can’t they even write a specification for services? If the legislature wanted an objective review by an “outside” agency with recommendations for budget reductions of at least 10% than they should have asked for that. Instead they left the agency being “audited” to meet the apparent audit objective. Anyway, from what I have read, we apparently won’t save a dime from this effort and, in fact, we just went another $343,000 in the hole.
    I understand this dilemma calls for at least another secretive out-of-state legislative conference (in perhaps Hawaii) before the session starts doesn’t it?

  3. Ben Rowell

    Congratulations to Juneau and its bicycling advocates for earning the bronze medal and for building a bicycle friendly community! Being bicycle and pedestrian friendly and earning such a designation from the Leauge of American Bicyclists is something to be proud of and a benchmark all cities should strive for, even in Alaska. Congratulations to Anchorage (silver) and Sitka (bronze) for recently earning medals as well. Wasilla is next! Okay, that’s not going to happen but Palmer has potential.

  4. Mark Springer

    Good piece on NPR this morning- Lower Gas Prices Add Fuel to US Economic Recovery.
    Here in Bethel we pay the cost of fuel delivered bought earlier in the year, AND the cost of whatever is left in the tanks from the PREVIOUS year.
    Governor Walker doesn’t have to declare an emergency- he just needs to get Tom Crowley on the phone to make sure he is buying low this year.
    Nothing would be better for Rursl Alaska than a couple of bucks relief on gas and HF prices. The impact would be huge for all of us.
    Governor, let’s estimate the impact on Alaskas overall cost of living from a sustained reduction in the cost of oil.
    Cheaper diesel means lower freight costs on the highways and rails. Alaska Airlines should already be passing through done lower jet fuel costs to its in-state customers and for sure on outside routes. This summer, hopefully, we will see much lower fuel costs for bush carriers.
    I believe that a significant reduction in the overall cost of energy will offset, to some degree, the impact on state revenue and may intact result in economic expansion around the state.
    Merry Christmas frm Bethel, everybody!

  5. AH HA

    I seriously doubt that the state Democratic Party is actually “behind” any petition to support police officers. It’s far more likely that the culprits are APOA and PSEA.

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