Archive for July 2014

Big Oil will stay as long as there’s money to be made   Leave a comment

Letter: Big Oil will stay as long as there’s money to be made | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

There are many good points being made on this debate right now, so I’m highlighting them.

For those outside of Alaska, this issue will be voted on August 19. SB21 was Governor Parnell’s oil tax reduction plan, which I was opposed to. I favored the Palin-era ACES tax system. When the petition came around to repeal it, however, I opted for stability in the tax environment. I have since changed my mind because I believe Alaska is suffering from abused colony syndrome, whereby we continually forget that it is OUR oil and therefore, we have a right to act like a North Dakota landowner and demand a premium for access to our resources. And, in the end, under ACES (which the taxation system will revert to if SB21 is set aside) the oil companies are still taking home a tidy profit of around 49% AFTER they deduct the cost of producing the oil.

Down to Earth Detail   Leave a comment

We live in a world of moral relativism, so know what the Scripture teaches is essential.

Someone asked Jesus to identify the “greatest commandment.” It was a trick question. If He answered with any of the 10, He’d be deemed a false rabbi because each of the 10 is the greatest commandment. They’re all equal.

Which tells us something about God, if we’d really consider it. All of His commands are equal and so are all of our sins.

Little digression there. Lela

Jesus answered “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:36-38).

Sadly, a person can hear this command and completely misinterpret it. The emerging church and the casual dabbler in verses will use this as an excuse for believing nothing and holding no moral standards. They’ll take the verse out of context and say that all that is required to be “right” with God is to “love” Him with all of your heart.

But Jesus didn’t make this statement in a vacuum. He was referencing the 10 commandments. His listeners knew that because He was quoting the Shema, which they used (and some still do) in their worship. We also know this because Jesus followed up with a second commandment.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

If you read the 10th Commandments, you find these two commandments synopsize them perfectly. You can’t understand what Jesus actually meant without looking at the 10 Commandments.

What does it mean to love God with every fiber of your being (Exodus 20:1-11)? What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? (Exodus 20:12-17). It’s very clear and it’s not easy. It looks a lot like morality and it appears to be non-negotiable.

Jesus was no modern philosopher spewing words of easy belief and content-less platitudes. The 10 Commandments provides absolutes in down-to-earth detail.

Road funds best spent elsewhere – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor   Leave a comment

Road funds best spent elsewhere – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Letters To Editor.

I think this gentleman means well, but he fails to understand why the governor is promoting “roads to resources.” In Alaska, 80% of the communities have no road access to the rest of the world. Roads are involved in over 75% of all business transactions in our nation. Do you see the problem?

In order to make mining feasible in Alaska, we need to build roads so that minerals can be transported. They don’t need to be super-highways. One lane gravel roads will do, but roads we must have.

Maybe the magic petroleum fairy will convince the federal government and the big multinationals to open up even a fraction of our untapped proven reserves — estimated at well over twice what Prudhoe has produced in the last 30 years. Maybe … but we already have miners working in small operations all over the state, struggling to get their resources to market.

There’s really no reason to build an engineering building on UAF or upgrade our local schools if there’s no economy to support the parents of those school children or to provide jobs for those engineering graduates. Roads to Resources does that.

We don’t really need these new buildings and teachers until we have a means to provide access to jobs for the general public.

It’s as simple as that.

Posted July 31, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Why I Write Christian Fantasy   Leave a comment

When I first began writing, I wasn’t a Christian. I grew up in a non-Christian home where books lined the walls in a place where winters encourage indoor activities. I made up stories when I was little (some people might call them lies, but Mom said they were very imaginative). I first put pen to paper as a 12-year–old for a school assignment. I hated the process, but something kicked loose and I’ve been writing ever since.

Not a lot of my writing from that era has survived, but enough for me to know that I did not write Christian anything as a high school student. And even after I became a Christian, I didn’t immediately care that what I wrote had a Christian worldview.

That came later as the overflow of this new fountain in my life. It wasn’t deliberate. My characters just slowly began to be Christians — but not all of them. I don’t live in the Bible Belt. Most of the people I know are not Christians. I guess it shouldn’t surprise that not all of my characters are Christians.

Story-telling is an ancient tradition in almost every culture and has often been used to illustrate morals and values in a form that can be passed on through generations. Everyone learns differently, but I’d be willing to wager that most young people prefer novels and movies over sermons. My son’s age group is inundated with negative messages through books, television, movies, radio and peers. There’s a reason why horror fantasy is one of the top selling genres for that age group. Our enemy has captured their attention and glutted the market with witchcraft, demons, vampires and werewolves.

I write fantasy in part because I want to take back the genre. After reading fantasy for a number of years and finding almost no Christian influences, a character – Padraig – popped into my head and said “Write about me.” Eventually, a world developed around him and other characters emerged who would become the cast of the Daermad Cycle, of which The Willow Branch is the first book.

I believe writers can weave stories that spark the imagination and also spread a message containing morals and values consistent with Biblical teachings. I’m not saying that fantasy novels (even written by me) should replace Bible study. I’m saying that this genre might be read by those who would not otherwise get the message, so writers who are Christians are doing the Lord’s work when we place the gospel message in some way within our books.

My kids were raised in a Christian home and when my daughter was young, it was a big movement among evangelicals to not allow them to read Harry Potter or the Twilight series. I found how really difficult it was to prevent that inculcation and ended up reading the books with her so that at least I’d know what we were talking about. I learned that I was one of the few parents actually doing that and it gave me the opportunity to reach some non-believing young people, to speak to them for Christ. My personal reach is small, but imagine what might happen if Christian writers were able to market their books to a wider audience and have the kids we never may know connect with Christ through our stories?

I wasn’t looking for Christ when I picked up a book in a fog-bound Alaskan cabin, but God found me there. And that’s why I write Christian fantasy that I hope will appeal not just to Christians, because I believe God can reach people right where they are, through whatever form of communication is available to Him.

Posted July 30, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

HELP AN AUTHOR   Leave a comment

HELP AN AUTHOR.

Posted July 30, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Writing

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Author Interview with Bill Leviathan   Leave a comment

Today, I’m visiting with Bill Leviathan, the author of Set Me Alight, a conspiracy thriller.  Tell us a little about yourself, Bill.

I’m a twenty something kid who thinks a little too highly of himself, trying to see if there’s any room for me in the crowded world of fiction writing. I write what makes me happy, and pray it won’t cause too much pain to anyone willing to read it.

Set Me Alight occurs in a dystopian world where the U.S. economy has collapsed. Work is scarce and the protagonist Pete travels west to fight forest fires, only to find himself embroiled in the politics of a mining town. Where did you get your inspiration for each angle of the story?”

I have a friend who until recently was bumming around the country, moving from place to place working crap jobs. A few of my other friends and myself began joking around with him about his new vagabond lifestyle. At one point I created a short (about two paragraph long) plot outline starring my friend as a Snake Plissken wannabe character fighting forest fires out in the Rockies. It was filled with cheesy action-movie clichés and ended with my friend fighting the President on the top of the Freedom Tower in NYC.

A few months later I was visiting family over the holidays and was getting a little bored. I found that movie plot outline, retooled it to be a bit less outlandish, and quickly wrote the prologue.

A lot of the inspiration for the story just came from watching some older action movies about down-on-their luck guys overcoming odds to try and save the day, whether willingly or no. I re-watched a lot of John Carpenter movies while writing Set Me Alight.

I was also reading through some Jim Thompson books at the time. He was great at writing these depraved and twisted characters all from the first person. For Set Me Alight, I wanted to try and write Pete as a character who may have saw himself as being a Jim Thompson character, but really was just a lonely bitter kid.

You do a really excellent job of drawing the character of Pete. My step-father was a rubber-tramp during the Depression and some of the descriptions you give are very on-point with his memories of shanty towns, hoovervilles and mining towns where you might scrape up a bit of work here and there. Did you do a lot of research?

I didn’t do a whole lot of research specifically for this book. The Depression era is something I’ve always been interested in and knew some background information going into writing this story.

Back in high school, for US history I had a project/field trip where our class had to create our own hooverville in a field behind the school. We were allowed to bring in whatever building material we wanted, which was mostly cardboard boxes and tarps. We spent all day outside “living” in our hooverville homes. It was towards the end of February and it had just recently snowed. For lunch we were each given a single boiled hotdog. Looking back on it I’m surprised the school let our teacher do that project. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable  things I ever had to do in terms of school work.

You self-published Set Me Alight. Did you start out to self-publish. Why self-publish?

When I first started writing I had not put any thought into publishing the story. It was simply a personal project I was using to prove something to myself. Once I finished, I then started researching a bit into the world of publishing. Traditional publishing seemed like a dark and scary place. I just simply wanted what I wrote out there to see if anyone would appreciate it. I then researched self publishing, and really liked the idea of owning everything regarding the story. If I fail, I have only myself to blame.

Do you have any advice for others who are seeking to self-publish their own writing?

Spend more time than you think you need to editing, and find some beta readers if possible. I wrote my story in complete isolation. I didn’t tell anyone I know about it until I had already hit “publish” on Amazon and Smashwords. The initial product I put out suffered from it, and was quite rough. It’s slowly improved since I first put it out there, but I feel I would have been much better off if I’d given it time to settle after completing writing before I published. The excitement got the better of me, I guess.

What are your plans for the future with regards to writing?

I’m currently writing a story about a lonely, bitter, pseudointellectual, and extremely paranoid type character who’s hearing a voice in his head saying someone is following him and that he needs to do crazy things like jump out of windows and blow up cars. I doubt I get many points for originality with the story, but I’ve enjoyed writing it so far.

Links:
Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K53Y0IA?ie=UTF8&at=aw-android-pc-us-20&force-full-site=1&ref_=aw_bottom_links

Smashwords:http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/435259

Milestones   Leave a comment

Tomorrow is Writing Wednesday, so I’m going to post this now and leave Wednesday alone.

 

In the last few days, I have quietly slipped over 300 followers on Word Press, 100 on Facebook and my Tumbler account, which hadn’t moved in months, doubled today.

So things are looking up for the launch of The Willow Branch in October. Watch this space.

For tomorrow, however, watch for my interview with Bill Leviathan, author of “Light Me Afire”.

Posted July 29, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Writing

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“No Road” argument has wrong priorities   Leave a comment

This letter to the editor from the Alaska Dispatch News does an excellent job of explaining why Alaskans won’t “get over” the King Cove road.

“No road” argument has wrong priorities

I am getting tired of listening to idiots expound on connecting King Cove to the airport at Cold Bay. I have made many trips to King Cove, many more to Cold Bay.

The issue is, of course, the impact on the migratory waterfowl in the Izembek  Refuge of a road linking Cold Bay with King Cove. There has existed for about 70 years an extensive road system in and about the Izembek Refuge. This began in 1942, when the Cold Bay airport was built, and expanded as the military installation Fort Randall was built.

There are miles  of gravel roads in this area. I know, I have driven on them hunting geese and ptarmigan. In 1945, a massive training program, “Project Hula,” existed at Cold Bay. At any given time, there were at least 1,500 troops on site participating.  In subsequent years there was a small USAF facility at Cold Bay.  The geese didn’t seem to be affected by this level of activity, which was probably a hundredfold over and above what occurs today.

I lost a very good friend in the crash of a Beech KingAir at King Cove a number of years ago. It can be a very dangerous airport due limited visibility, low ceiling and ferocious wind all at the same time.

This “no road” argument has no reasonable basis.  Geese, minimal to no impact; people of King Cove, potentially major impact.

Where are your priorities?

— Mike Koskovich
Wasilla

Posted July 29, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Get Over It, Alaska????   Leave a comment

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell apparently felt it was appropriate to tell Alaskans to “get over” the idea of building an 11-mile single-lane gravel road from Cold Bay to King Cove to provide emergency transfer when the seas are too rough for boat transfer of residents needing hospitalization.

 

Interior Secretary Jewell wishes Alaskans would “get over’ King Cove road

Anchorage blogger Amanda Coyne picked it up, but almost nobody else did.

Folks, this is highly indicative of the attitude that the Obama Administration has toward the entire country, but most especially if it is rural or owns resources.

We should just “get over” the idea that a functional economy requires things like pipelines and roads, mines and refineries, electricity and home heating. It’s far more important for his administration to pretend to to be considering opening the Arctic Petroleum Reserve to drilling (though they won’t actually do it) and make speeches about solar panels (which are next to useless here in the winter) than it is to consider the people their policies affect.

So could someone please tell me why the administrative state is a good idea? How do you justify the tyranny?

 

Anti Law   Leave a comment

The zeitgeist of ani-law always exists, but it manifests itself in different ways for different generations. For three hundred years in the Christian era, the world-spirit persecuted Christians. In the Roman Catholic era, the world-spirit actually worked through the ecclesiastical structure to put clergy in the seat of God, separating believers from a personal relationship. In the Protestant era, the rise of the state church sought to maintain that status quo. More recently, humanism and post-modern anti-belief-in-anything has been the flavor of zeitgeist for our society. The tone changes, but the goal is always the same — distract believers from God’s purpose and conform us to the world rather than to God.

If Christians are not to get the muck of the world on us, we must resist the general spirit of lawlessness, but we must also recognize and resist this generation’s flavor of rebellion.

That’s easier said than done.

Christians are naive if we think we are not surrounded by the world-spirit which claws at us from birth to death. A thousand voices obvious and subtle express its mentality every waking moment of our days. We try to shut our doors against it, but like the smoke of a forest fire, it works its way in and seeps into our subconscious. Worse — it infects our children and because everybody is doing it, it seems normal to them.

The solution is not to ignore the zeitgeist. We’ve been doing that for a long time. How’s that working out?

Instead, we should turn it up like we’re sitting in front of the speakers at Lollapalooza, so that we hear every word and can analyze what is being said. We know that the message is the same whether we’re standing in Renaissance Italy or Fairbanks Alaska in 2014. It’s all one message — the spirit of the world and the particular flavor it takes in our generation — is all an attempt to silence, mischaracterize, and marginalize the God of the Bible so that that the god of this world has no socially-acceptable rivals.

And, who is the god of this world?

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