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The State Department of Natural Resources held a hearing last Friday on the water reservation filed to obstruct PacRim’s construction of a coal mine west of Tyonek.  At the hearing were all the usual anti-development suspects including Trustees for Alaska, Cook Inletkeeper and the Chuitna Citizens Coalition.

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Looks like Governor Bill Walker is going to do his best impersonation of Tony Knowles by allowing the Department of the Interior to create Indian Country here in Alaska. The vehicle appears to be response to a 2013 Parnell lawsuit against tribal trust lands.

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While the rest of the state is out chasing salmon and filling freezers, former Backbone member Bill Walker is busily “nationalizing” natural gas utilities here in Alaska, reversing a decades old move to privatization that has all but solved recent Railbelt natural gas shortages.

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In a time of tight budgets, it is always gratifying when a University Chancellor self-identifies as a world-class PC idiot and volunteers his University for a 40 – 50% budget cut. Such was the case last month as UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers ordered the removal of the Mississippi state flag from a display of all 50 state flags.

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Last week a Muslim immigrant shot up a military recruiting station and Reservist base in Chattanooga, TN, killing five active duty military. The now deceased jihadi had gloried in the discomfort of others as he attended public schools and college. He eventually embraced his inner demons and decided his way into Heaven was to murder his neighbors.

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Interesting confluence of economics and jobs news over the last week here in Alaska. First there was the news that the red return into Bristol Bay may be only half what was expected. Late last week, the Army announced that they would be cutting some 2,600 troops at join Base Elmendorf – Richardson (JBER). Cue the expected wailing, lamentations, and rending of garments.

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There is an old question that Abraham Lincoln asked while in office. Paraphrased, it goes “How many legs does a calf have if you call the tail a leg?” The respondent typically does the math and responds five. Lincoln corrects them by noting that the actual answer is four, as calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.

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The running gag in the movie Up was someone shouting “squirrel” and the dogs instantly dropping what they were doing and running off in chasing it.   Budget wars in recent weeks has put Alaska is in much the same position, chasing squirrels while ignoring the single most important task of increasing flow through the pipeline.
 

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There are events with significant environmental impact that take place from time to time. They are all natural and generally not predictable. The more energy we spend lighting our hair on fire, running around waving our arms and whining about things with no demonstrable environmental impact, the less we will have available when something real, serious, and devastating happens.

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What if the opposition to the use of coal here in the US is stopping continuous improvement in cleanliness and performance of coal-fired plants here in the US while the rest of the world continues to make rolling improvements in new plants, taking the older, dirtier, more polluting plants out of service as the new generation comes on line?

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One of the really ugly pathologies falling out of the welfare state is the destruction of civilized behavior by those who have been on the public dole for generations. Here in the US, it is most apparent in the primarily black inner cities where only 17% of children are raised by two parent families.

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Had the opportunity to listen to a budget presentation on the State of Alaska budget wars by Jeff Jessee, CEO of the Alaska Mental Health Trust. It had about the content and tone that we have come to expect during the current budget wars, but it did set me to thinking (usually a painful process) about who pays for what around here.

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Question: What happens when the Governor decides he really wants to be Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)? Answer: He starts recommending “cost effective” wildlife control techniques to his appointees.

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Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing time after time and expecting different results. We see that once again with Senator Bill Wielechowski’s (D, IBEW) op-ed over the weekend decrying senate budget cuts as somehow being against Alaskan values.

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One of the rites of spring for my youngest and me is to take an afternoon in April and attend the Great Alaska Sportsman’s Show here in Anchorage. Part of the reason is to look at all the new toys. Part is to reconnect with people I know. Part is to take a look at the anti-development jackals and see what their latest pack of lies is.
 

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We finally have a moderately rational argument in favor of the water reservation file for Middle Creek, a tributary of the Chuit River 45 miles west of Anchorage.

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Alice Rogoff’s fish wrapper decided late last week their axis of attack on the Republican majority in the legislature was to go after conservatives, particularly those with some connection to mining on vague claims of conflict of interest.

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The latest trick used by the anti-development, anti-resource extraction, and anti-job crowd is the use of exclusive water rights as a vehicle to shut down projects. The current example is the Chuit River west of Anchorage where PacRim Coal wants to build a coal mine.

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The Federal Subsistence Board met here in Anchorage Jan. 21 – 23 at the Dena’ina Center. During the meeting, it entertained three proposals for subsistence fishing in SouthCentral Alaska. Two proposals for a pair of gill net locations across the Kenai and one for a set net location across the upper Kasilof were approved.

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Representative Harriet Drummond (D, ANC) introduced legislation last week to allow physician assisted suicide here in Alaska. She calls it Death with Dignity and dresses it up in all the usual leftist claptrap about choice.

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I always find it interesting to look at the foundation documents justifying any expansion of state power, authority and welfare. The Healthy Alaska Plan for Medicaid makes some very interesting reading and raises many questions.

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The first slice of Walker proposed budget cutting goes after the elderly, corrections and state employees as early targets. The budget proposes cutting some 250 jobs (329 total positions), and cuts some $240 million out of a $3.5 billion budget deficit, or a whopping 7% of the deficit. whoopee.

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Breathless reporting a couple weeks ago described 2014 as the hottest year on record. Follow-up stories blamed it all on manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and called for instant / immediate government action to solve the problem.

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Governor Bill Walker paints himself as a Wally Hickel acolyte, doing everything possible to bring Alaska as the Owner State into being. In this, the Owner State is defined with Alaska and in turn, all Alaskans collectively owning all resources of the state. This worldview defines Walker’s actions and the actions of the Backbone group he represents.

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With his action over the weekend on ANWR, President Obama announced that he has morphed from lame duck into troll, with Alaska as his first target. My experience with trolls is that he wants the appropriate thundering response from Alaskans and its elected leadership, while he moves on to the next target.

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