Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 12.26

  • The Peninsula Clarion has a doozy of a story about the use of a “working title” instead of his official title with Alaska Department of Fish & Game on his resume that landed him a plum position with South Dakota’s Fish & Game department. There’s more, lots more to the story. Might I suggest some popcorn?
  • Seeking Alpha has a summary of how ConocoPhillips plans to expand in NPRA due to tax cuts.
  • Get ready to hear more Y’alls and colorful Texan sayings-and LIKE IT-because the New York Times was the first to crunch the numbers and realize that Texans will dominate the congressional committees in 2015.
  • The Department of Corrections claims that the only way to meet the 10% drop in budget the governor proposes is to close jails. This announcement comes on the heels of their annual audit that found systemic problems within the department.
  • A recent study backs Flint Hill’s argument that the EPA should be more lenient about how they measure the pollution around North Pole, according to the Dispatch.

  • Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker put out a video welcoming Alaskans into our state’s home and gave a tour of the governor’s mansion with his legendary informal manner. It was reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy’s White House Tour, without the long gloves.
  • The complexities of race when talking about The Race are explored in Politico.
  • The AP examines North Korea’s cyber attack capabilities and discovers it is slightly more advanced than ROT13.
  • The Washington Post gives us a rough timeline of 2016 announcements and explains why it is never too early for official presidential aspirations.
  • The GOP has learned a difficult lesson due to the fallout of tax-cutting superstar from 2012, Sam Brownback. Taxes are really unpopular but are kind of necessary to ensure stability of revenue for essential services that drive the economy.
  • Alaska Education Update has the latest on House Sustainable Education Task Force’s final hearing and that LB&A RFPs that will evaluate school funding.
  • Hillary Clinton is acting quickly to shore up her liberal base in a two for one political jujitsu move to garner $ and prevent potential primary opponents (ahem, Elizabeth Warren) from making their own announcements, according to the Washington Post.
  • Marco Rubio and his clique won’t let a little thing like Jeb Bush rain on his parade, or prevent a serious bid for the Oval office, per The Hill. Rubio is known to be a bare-knuckle kind of politician and his people can be even scarier.
  • The Juneau Empire reports that while Gov. Bill Walker wants his commissioners to live in Juneau, only 3 of the 14 are currently able to claim a 99801 zip code (any of the other 5 works fine too) for their private residence.
  • The Hill reports that Obama administration has leased a building for $7.8 million for new employees to process the immigrants seeking amnesty from the president’s executive actions.
  • has a new petition from Alaska. This one is to show opposition to building the Ambler road. As of my last count, there are 125 signatures.
  • The New York Times has an interactive graph (!) that shows how a person’s political leanings change over the course of their life based on the year they were born.
  • The Sitka City and Borough Assembly approved a measure to loan the much-needed money to its hospital, per the Sitka Sentinel.
  • Politico has the year’s best Wuerker political cartoons in a cartoon carousel. Enjoy!

Correction: One of the pieces compiled here compared Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott to the “Grinch.” Unfortunately, I left out the line that indicated that I was doing so because he hadn’t been tweeting enough. Mallott is by all accounts a very generous man. It’s just that he doesn’t tweet enough.


4 thoughts on “Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 12.26

  1. Anonymous

    Garand Fellow! Thank you for posting your ideas for all of us to read. Your thoughts reflect what many of us would say. 🙂

  2. Lynn Willis

    Alaska is remains awash in studies such as the $320,000 Department of Corrections study that apparently completely missed the intent of identifying specific cost savings.
    And we have yet another study, this one regarding Sulfolane contamination. According to the ADN article: “The study says that a “reference dose” level 10 times higher than proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 should be considered acceptable but the authors also said their confidence in the finding is on the “low end of medium.”
    What makes this ground water contamination event (dare I say scandal) so egregious it is that apparently nothing will happen to the refinery employees who caused (or certainly contributed to) the contamination by shooting holes in the containment pond liner or to the state DEC leadership who turned a blind eye for years.
    Now that the state is considering claiming it is OK for some of us to drink Sulfolane contaminated water, how about at every legislative gathering our legislators will be offered three pitchers of drinking water. The first will contain no Sulfolane, the second pitcher a sulfolane concentration of the previous allowable level of 14 parts per billion and the third pitcher this new safe to: “low end of medium” confidence level of 362 parts per billion. Let our “leaders” directly show there acceptance of this situation by directly consuming the product at the level of contamination that they find acceptable. Same offering of water should be made to the occupants and visitors at the Governors mansion.
    Speaking of the Governor, if Governor Walker wants his Commissioners to live in Juneau then how long until he issues them an ultimatum to either move to Juneau or move on, or he retracts that demand.
    There is something to be said for Walker’s idea. The old adage “familiarity breeds contempt” might be mitigated if those who oversaw state departmental operations were either not allowed to operate so far away from Juneau in relative autonomy
    or were forced to meet the Governor face-to-face on a frequent basis. This “familiarity” problem certainly seemed to be the case when the Commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs” was only a short walk down the hall from his subordinates, some of whom seem to have also become his friends and confidants .

  3. Garand Fellow

    Ms. Coyne, I’m afraid I respectfully agree entirely with Mark Fish. Government is about the one feature of contemporary American (and yes, Alaskan) life of which we insist on adding still more when the amount we have today doesn’t work. If government is wasting money we decide we are wasting too little. The more the demand for government is disassociated with those who pay for government the more government is demanded to grow!

    Stated a different way, if you look in the first chapter of any basic micro-economics textbook you will see a graph that plots demand against price. When hamburgers cost one dollar the demand is very high, but when hamburgers cost $100 the demand is much smaller. What is demand when the price is zero (the Y axis)? Why of course it is infinite. That is what we have in Alaska; infinite demand for government because the price is zero to those making the demand.

    The contention that government cannot be reduced by 10 percent or even 25 percent is silly and dishonest. Alaska right now has the government that infinite, unbridled demand built. Of course there is huge opportunity to dramatically reduce this state government.

    One bright note is that Governor Walker has asked Alaskans to let him know their ideas for reducing the size of state government. An even brighter note is that leaders of the incoming Alaska Legislature have just written the governor demanding reductions and specifying some reductions they want to see right now. Surely, many Alaskans have seen areas where state government spending can be reduced.

    If government is not dramatically reduced in size, reach and scope before the constitutional and statutory budget reserves run dry there will only be the Permanent Fund to support state spending. So a FY 2016 budget reduction of anything less than about 20% is a bet that oil prices will be back to $120 within 2 to 3 years, or else it is a certain and sure grab on the Permanent Fund.

    The best way to protect the economy of Alaska is to reduce state and municipal spending beginning with the coming second half of FY 2105. I applaud the Alaska Legislature for asking Governor Walker to do that, and I fully expect the Alaska Legislature to make a 20% or larger reduction in spending for the coming budget year without using artifices and phony accounting. That will best protect Alaska from these lower oil prices. We need not fear smaller government, we need to see smaller government as the necessary path to a post-petroleum Alaska.

  4. Mark Fish

    Taxes necessary to ensure stability of revenue for essential services that drive the economy? Your statement seems to imply all we need to prosper is to grow government services. T What is an essential service needs to be reviewed.Cutting taxes does work if you also follow through and actually reduce the size of governmnet. The problem lies in the public’s desire to have there cake and eat it too and the politicians that are more than happy to give the public everything they want reguardlass ogf the concquences to us all.

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