Inside/Outside morning news roundup for Jan. 1.

  • The Washington Post writes about the Supreme Court dipping its proverbial toe into 20th Century technology by finally uploading all documents filed with the court to the Internet. Next step, allowing hearings to be recorded and aired on TV ala CSPAN.
  • Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from dismissing Brigadier Gen. Catherine Jorgensen. Jorgensen sued the state for firing her for what she called a “political Hail Mary” for former Gov. Sean Parnell to save his own job.
  • The new “Freedom Caucus,” which I reported on months ago, and which is comprised of four Southcentral legislators, is finally getting some press. The Juneau Empire has some of the details but left out the fact that one of rules, at least as conceived, requires members to bring a bible to the meetings and read aloud a verse from it.
  • The Hill details the upcoming battle royale over the budget between Congress and the president.
  • The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has information about two ongoing issues for the Fairbanks area. The first is that the state hit send on its proposal to align the borough’s air quality with federal standards. The second involves continued confusion about whether the levels of solfolane in the water make it unsafe to drink.

  • Mayor Dan Sullivan has a new PSA about discouraging panhandling while he holds a cardboard box cutout with the words “Panhandling is Dangerous”. KTVA has the commercial as well as two differing views from panhandlers about the PSA and Sullivan’s message.
  • It appears that former Gov. Jeb Bush will be bucking the trend to attend all things GOPish in Iowa by choosing to not attend the anti-immigration political event.
  • The importance of the Affordable Care Act subsidies for many Americans has been revealed in a new report and explained in an article by the New York Times. Each shows the significance this spring’s Supreme Court case will have on our economy, people and communities.
  • Gov. Byron Mallott will be assessing the governor’s and attorney general’s legal conflicts in at least a half-dozen legal proceedings.
  • Meet the 16 that will be going to the mattresses for 2016. Politico details each vulnerable incumbent and their potential challengers. Sen. Lisa Murkowski didn’t make the cut.
  • The first House Dem has publically called for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who is in David Duke-heat, to resign from leadership. Other Democrats are not being so bold and The Hill explains why. Breaking: Turns out that Scalise might not have been speaking to the David Duke group after all. 
  • In more former Gov. Jeb Bush news, Politico reports that the other Bush son has quit all board memberships in the private and public sector.
  • Scott Kawasaki will be filing a bill to tackle price gouging of gasoline and heating oil, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
  • SeattlePi says that there’s a long simmering rivalry between North Dakota and Alaska regarding oil production.
  • The City of Kodiak is looking at giving Juneau a run for its ‘greener than thou’ unofficial title by looking at turning sewage sludge into compost. The Kodiak Daily Mirror has the details.
  • While the crude oil faction of the energy sector is busy clutching their smelling salts, the Juneau Empire reports that at least Alaska’s mines seem to be plugging along fine.
  • The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports on the uncertain future of the Natural Gas Trucking project since its contractor ceases work on the North Slope plant.
  • Today marks the first day to file for your PFD! You have until March 31st, but why wait?
  • 2014 was a fast and furious year in Alaskan politics. I’ve compiled my favorite stories of the year. Happy New Year Alaska!
  • And then there was this great tweet from APD public info:



13 thoughts on “Inside/Outside morning news roundup for Jan. 1.

  1. AH HA

    We are hardly any ‘greener’ because we have no road to drive… those ‘saved’ miles are replaced by passenger miles on the ferry… at an astronomical amount of gallons per passenger mile, along with the associated increased air pollution.

  2. Anonymous

    I’m afraid that Democrats, greenies and hypocrites are synonyms most or all of the time. Perhaps you are suggesting that Power Cost Equalization is the real culprit as having hydropower does not make anyone greener, especially if they travel by jet airplanes (which measure fuel consumption in the thousands of pounds per hour). That argument has merit.

    Still, the December bird count was down in Juneau so far as eagles, ravens and gulls because Mount Botelho was closed on Christmas so maybe the dump is in some fashion actually green (or at least wildlife friendly in a post-Disney fashion). And of course those big rats anyone can see if they spend a few minutes on the mountain (but who wants to spend any more time than necessary there?) may be green to some. For my part much would be forgiven if we were allowed to shoot the rats for recreation and you may agree.

    I have always thought that Republicans working for government in Alaska is not hypocritical because government owns all the land here. Control of the land brings direct control of the jobs, and federal control is even more iniquitous than state control (not to mention unconstitutional).

  3. Brent Crude

    I think you are a little confused. Juneau and the larger towns in southeast are on hydro power so are a bit greener than most of the rest of the state. Without access to the road system I suspect southeast drivers also put fewer miles on their cars than drivers up north. Wearing a hair shirt and taxing the other guy makes you a hypocrite, not necessarily a greenie or democrat. Kind of like a republican who likes to make fun of the left and government but still feeds at the trough. There are sure plenty of those around.

  4. Lynn Willis

    While your observation that those running for elected office would better serve us by having concrete ideas is valid, I understand that simply is not done. I was listening to Mayor Dan Sullivan of Anchorage explain on a talk show that candidates are not likely to get specific on issues as that can be “spun” to trap them (example was Walker’s very specific 16% budget cut comment) .
    In any event, seven months before the election the Saudis had not cut oil prices. At that time we had a problem with fiscal management and now we have a true crisis. I don’t think Alaskans understand the ramifications of that sea change and how that absolutely muted whatever plan created before the election. If fact, as you remember, Parnell was being given credit for having the fiscal situation under control with his comparative reductions in spending; however, had he won he would be in no better position now to deal with this than Walker. The senior legislators are running for cover, which they would have done regardless of who was Governor, because self-preservation is the prime directive to those who make a career of being in elected office.
    In fact the unwritten (yet cardinal) rule that membership in the majority caucus is dependent on voting for the final budget may be under serious threat which the “Freedom Caucus” formation may be showing us.
    As to the National Guard, the problem is now to large to fit under any rug. In an odd way, perhaps both sides of the political spectrum can use this scandal to a political end which will keep it in the public view.

  5. AH HA

    As far as the National Guard issue, I suspect that this is going right back under the rug where every governor since Hickel has gone to great pains to keep it.

  6. AH HA

    @Lynn, I suspect you are correct about those ‘Doldrums’ the speaker was so worried about.

    Walker’s Co-Governor Mallott was talking about this issue last June and is quoted as saying; “Under Sean Parnell, Alaska has undergone an unprecedented fiscal collapse. Parnell took a $5 billion surplus and turned it into a $2 billion deficit,”

    It’s my view that since Mallott perceived this as an issue (and Clearly it’s quite serious) as early as last June, and was at that time running for the office of Governor with, I assume, every intention of becoming governor, he ought to have been doing a lot of thinking about this problem and how to cure it. In fact given seven months to think and plan he and his Co-Governor should have arrived in office plan in hand and been able to start implementation immediately.

    It seems clear that this is not what we are seeing… there has been no public announcement regarding any fiscal plan, no action taken short of a few half steps and stop gap measures that will not be nearly enough to address the problem.

  7. Lynn Willis

    Governor Walker hasn’t reneged on his promise to pursue this scandal; however, legislative leadership has implied that they want nothing to do with this Guard situation if the opinion of the past Senate President is still the prevailing attitude of the majority.
    I do want Governor Walker to appoint a special prosecutor and/or involve the Attorney General in resolving this situation. He has to appreciate that passage of time is not serving to help.
    That said, I can appreciate that he has a full agenda dealing the collapse of oil prices coupled to the extremely unwise decision of the legislature, with endorsement of the then Governor, several years ago to engage in defacto deficit spending in an effort, as described by the Speaker of the House, to avoid economic “doldrums” (I might suggest the Speaker “ain’t see nothing yet” in the area of ” economic doldrums”). Regarding his promise to deal with the budget Governor Walker has started the process, as I understand the process, to do what he can do to stop the spending of funds that are not obligated for expenditure. His canceling of further expenditure on those six capital projects is necessary and furthermore was an appropriate response to the effort of legislative leadership to foist the problem onto the new Governor by suggesting he take actions they could have initiated last session or by special session, thereby implying they had nothing to do with creating the problem.

  8. AH HA

    Well i’ll be damned.. If we can find one more ‘recovering liberal’ in Juneau we could have a caucus… And since the City and Borough of Juneau is in worse financial shape than the State of Alaska is and shows no signs of doing anything about it, I suspect that by this time next year there might be plenty more ‘recovering liberals’ around.

  9. Anonymous

    I can imagine that to Politico a US Senator, especially one from far-off Alaska perhaps, who gained her seat back with a write-in would look unbeatable, and in fact she may be. Gosh I hope we don’t have to go through all that another time.

    No one can come to Juneau and still believe we are really greener than anyone. Sure we talk a good line, and we oppose all timber sales, mines, etc. But driving from the airport to downtown anyone can look toward the Lemon Glacier and see a growing, smelly mountain we all call for our erstwhile mayor (now chief of all staffing on the east end of the 3rd Floor).

    Mount Botelho shows we are not greener than thou and don’t care. And isn’t that what being green (and for that matter, being a Democrat) is all about; tax that other guy and make him wear the hair shirt for global warming but me, I’m using the Alaska Airlines miles from my public sector job to fly to HI. I will return by Folk Festival.

  10. AH HA

    @Lynn, perhaps his promise (?) has gone the way his other ones did…

    To The Promised Land… Where all good political promises go to die.

  11. Lynn Willis

    The Jorgenson firing/hiring/firing litigation is apparently just the first action of what promises to be a time-consuming, expensive, and complex endeavor to correct what still appears to be the absolute failure of political oversight and military leadership involving the Alaska National Guard.
    Some have questioned why news of this affair seemed to have “disappeared” since the election as if this entire episode was orchestrated to bring down the sitting Governor. I don’t see that as being the case because, regardless of the timing, the serious nature of the accusations was certainly newsworthy, the questionable initial method of disposition of the accusations was certainly newsworthy, and the obfuscation of the freedom of information act requests for the documentation surrounding this event was certainly newsworthy, regardless of who was Governor at the time.
    While this has not been “front page news” lately, I suggest that the ongoing National Guard Bureau, Army, and other agency investigations, coupled with preparations by individuals, both the victimized and accused, to seek legal redress would account for the time since the election.
    Now, perhaps at last, this affair has left the political spectrum where it never should have been in the first place, nor need have been, had the former Governor utilized a formal judicial investigative process to “get to the bottom of all this”. Now a formal judicial process is going to resolve some of this mess as best it can.
    An interesting point in the ADN article is, that following the lifting of this injunction, BG Jorgensen is going to be afforded “a broader hearing” before the court. Will that be an opportunity for testimony under oath (subject to penalty for perjury) to finally be heard in this National Guard affair since all we have had to date is non-judicial investigations or other investigations that have not resulted in either formal prosecutions or legal exonerations of the accused? However, we have had some serious political posturing and avoidance.
    Speaking of which, I would also ask where is that Special Prosecutor that Governor Walker seemed to have promised? And what does the legislature plan to do to investigate and promulgate necessary legislation to prevent this from ever happening (at least to this degree) again?

  12. Anonymous

    A classic Prisoner’s Dilemma; Jorgensen has the goods on Bridges, and he’s got the goods on her.

    Throw in the End Times Porn Baron and his Gang of Miscreant Recruiters who are suing the DOD for having their records publicly leaked, allegations of confidential police reports being widely distributed on DOD computers (see color of law), crooked cops (and some good ones too), a mysterious death under suspicious circumstances, drug distribution & weapons smuggling and before you know it you’ve got the makings of a Showtime® action thriller.

    Pass the popcorn please…..

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