Archive for the ‘alaskana’ Tag

Alaskan Paradox   Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, it was still spring here after the latest end of winter anyone can remember. The State Department of Transportation had to pull road crews off clearing mountain passes of snow so it could repair a highway washed out by a flood because fire crews needed to use the road to get to a forest fire that was threatening the town cut off by the flood.

My husband couldn’t set posts for a temporary fence around our potato patch because the ground was frozen about 18 inches down.

And, now, just look at the temperatures.

I declare this Vitamin D Sunday as I hang out on my deck in the 114 degree sun.

No, you really can’t make up this irony.

Fairbanks, AK

3:46 PM AKDT on June 16, 2013 (GMT -0800)
Elev: 433 ft
Lon: 147.7° W
Lat: 64.8° N
Rapid Fire Updates™
Updated 12 min 8 sec ago Get Free Weather Stickers® Share:
Tropical Weather: Invest 93L (North Atlantic)

Fairbanks Weather at a Glance

Weather Station – Report – Buy a Station
540 ft
Station Select
85.2 °F
Feels Like 83 °F
Sunrise / Set
2:59 AM
0:44 AM
First Quarter
Partly Cloudy91 °F
Partly Cloudy
Clear64 °F
Partly Cloudy90 | 59 °F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy91 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy90 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy93 | 64 °F
Partly Cloudy
Today is forecast to be Warmer than yesterday.
30.19 in
10.0 miles
Clear –
0.00 in
Snow Depth
Not available.
METAR PAFB 162256Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 28/08 A3019 RMK SLP224 T02830083 $ VIA AUTODIAL
Don’t speak METAR? Read our FAQ.
Weather Radio
Heat Index
83 °F
Dew Point
53 °F
Speed / Dir
3.0 mph from WNW
Wind Gust
7 out of 16
Not available.
Air Quality
Not available.
Flu Activity
View Flu Map

Fairbanks Weather Forecast

View Calendar10-Day Forecast for Fairbanks Weather Station KAKFAIRB24

Sunday, 16
Partly Cloudy
91 | 64 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Monday, 17
Partly Cloudy
90 | 59 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Tuesday, 18
Partly Cloudy
91 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Wednesday, 19
Partly Cloudy
90 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Thursday, 20
Partly Cloudy
93 | 64 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Friday, 21
Mostly Cloudy
88 | 63 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Chance of
Saturday, 22
Chance of Rain
81 | 54 °F
Chance of Rain
Chance of
Sunday, 23
Partly Cloudy
75 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Monday, 24
Partly Cloudy
86 | 61 °F
Partly Cloudy
Chance of
Tuesday, 25
86 | 61 °F
Chance of
Source: BestForecast at 11:56 AM AKDT on June 16, 2013

Descriptive Forecast

partlycloudy Partly cloudy. High of 91F. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Sunday Night
nt_clear Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 64F. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph.
Hourly Forecast 6AM 12 Noon 6PM 12 Midnight
Temp. | Dew Point 66 | 44 80 | 47 87 | 50 76 | 51
Wind 4 mph WSW 6 mph West 8 mph NW 6 mph North
Humidity 44% 29% 27% 39%
Chance of Precip. 0% 0% 0% 0%
Cloud Cover 48% 48% 53% 3%
Conditions Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Clear
Sunrise & Sunset
2:59 AM
0:44 AM
The quality of the forecasted high temperature for this day is excellent. MaxT RMSE [1.19], Average RMSE [2.93]

How About You Talk to Some Real Alaskans?   Leave a comment

In my ongoing question to slay the Alaskan misperception dragon, I ran across an interesting article.

The Lower 48 mentality about Alaska generally drives Alaskans crazy. People fly into this remote outpost of humanity, see things that are strange to their eyes and draw their assumptions without spending more than five minutes with anyone. Yeah, quote some Greenpeacer in Anchorage, but don’t actually talk to any people who actually live here and have hunted for game.–alaska-where-men-have-guns-and-animals-don-t-have-a-chance

Most Alaskans cannot afford the equipment that is described in this article. Even if we could afford it, most of the hunting areas are not suitable for the big track vehicles described here. Possibly, this was going into a mine, carrying equipment, possibly it was carrying rich outside hunters into a guiding camp, but it’s unlikely it was being used for hunting by Alaskans.

Moreover, even if it were, such machinery makes a LOT of noise and therefore, scares off the game, which actually works to the game’s advantage.

“Hey, do you hear that? Maybe we ought to move to the next valley.”

My husband and I have hunted many times. We live off the salmon we harvest from the Copper River, using landing nets on long polls, perched a few feet above a river that nobody comes out of when they fall in. Yes, it’s exciting. Mostly, though, it’s food. Healthy, preservative- and hormone- free food that can be had at an affordable price.

We’ve also hunted, but with far less success. In 30 years, we’ve gotten four caribou and five road-killed moose. The caribou we actually got by hunting. Four caribou in maybe 15 hunting expeditions. We’ve gone moose hunting at least as many times and we’ve had maybe six in our sights and missed all shots. Why? Because moose aren’t stupid. It’s their backyard. They move away from the roads into the high country come hunting season. They can move into a copse of trees and just disappear. As huge as they are, they are silent when they travel. They are used to much better predators than us. Where they get stupid is in walking in front of speeding automobiles in the middle of winter. Alaska allows charities to harvest road-kill and most charities allow the harvesting volunteers a portion of the harvest to offset their day off work and gasoline.

It was quite apparent that hunting in Alaska comes to the human inhabitants as naturally as breathing. They seem to be obsessed with this urge to kill the wildlife. And with our modern technology and our rapidly increasing human population, what chance do wild animals have of escaping the guns of people who kill them just for kicks?

This writer was clearly traveling Alaska’s highways, which are normally devoid of animals in September not because they’ve all been killed, but because the military bozos who are road hunting have scared them away with their big manly vehicles.

It might have been nice if he’d bothered to talk to some actual Alaskans, rather than just draw his own conclusions. He might have learned that the rigs he was seeing are not owned by Alaskans, but by military members who are only here for three or four years and think they need this equipment to get the game, but rarely do. They might also have learned that heating oil is $4 a gallon here and it typically takes 1200 to 1500 gallons a winter to heat an average 2000 sq foot home. If we can get a moose, that’s about $1000 worth of meat. Guess what we spend it on? That’s right, heating fuel. Guess what we don’t eat a whole lot of the years we don’t get a moose or a caribou? That’s right – meat.

The writer really needs to get off his high judgmental perch. I’m going to guess he was travelling Alaska with plenty of money to enjoy staying at McClaren River Lodge (from the description), which owes its existence to the excellent fishing in the area and the snow machiners who adventure there in the winter. Maybe if he’d bothered to talk to the waitress instead of assuming she was hero-worshipping the hunters, he might have learned something about the state and the people who actually live here. It’s not a comfortable or simple life here. For people in the villages, the grocery store is a $600 plane ride away. For those of us living in the urban areas, a grocery bill of $200 a week for a family of four is not unusual – and is, when you have teenagers, unavoidable. Hunting is how we take the edge off of those high prices. As I said, very few of us can afford to use a tracked vehicle and even if we did, it would just scare the game away.

When I travel the Lower 48, I sometimes see things that I judge ridiculous too, but I always remind myself that I don’t live there, so don’t understand the situation. It might be a good idea for the writer to learn that.

And, by the way, guns safely closed up in black cases on the sides of trailers are not terrible menacing. Numbers of such rifles going off accidentally — ZERO!

Alaska GOP – Fighting over the Compass   Leave a comment

I’ve said repeatedly that I am a nonpartisan, so you are unlikely to get a lot of party rhetoric from me. I don’t follow GOP insider news, but I heard this on the radio the other morning and researched it. It is indicative of why I am a nonpartisan and why I think conservatives are not very bright in continuing their attachment to the Republican Party. This scenario is being played out around the nation, wherever conservatives have tried to move the Republican Party back to the principles of the majority of GOP members. The battle is far from lost, but in Alaska, the “old guard” is winning because they have the resources.

The fact is that the GOP “old guard” has its own, more or less moderate progressive vision for the State of Alaska while conservatives have a fiscally responsible, smaller government vision for it. Who is in the majority? I don’t know. I’m not a GOP member, so don’t rub elbows with the precincts, but I would note that a “tea party” candidate whipped Lisa Murkowski’s hind end in the largest GOP primary turnout in state history (2010), which indicates an awful lot of people who vote in the GOP primaries favored the conservative candidate. Although the GOP leadership endorsed Joe Miller, their support was half-hearted at best and he lost in a squeaker of a write-in campaign. I can’t say for sure there were shenanigans going on, but it felt Chicago-like.

I know nothing about Debbie Brown other than she replaced Russ Millett who was never even seated. That’s the bigger story, because Russ Millett was elected by the party at the state convention, but the “old guard” refused to acknowledge him. You will also note in this story in the Alaska Dispatch how dismissive the reporter is toward Millett and supportive of the “leadership of the GOP.

How anyone with principles can think that the Alaska GOP represents the Alaskan people’s interests is beyond me!

For a more balanced story, I’ve included a link to a small press that’s doing great Alaska coverage – the Alaska Native News – and the story on this that ran in the Anchorage Daily News.

I’m hoping Alaskan conservatives – many of whom are like me and are registered non-partisan/undeclared – will read this and recognize that we need to make some major changes in this state because this is a clear example where the ruling class (establishment Republicans) are doing everything in their power to disenfranchise the country class (tea party, commonsense conservatives). These people are members of the same party. The ones shut out of the process were the duly elected representatives and the ones doing the shutting out insist that THEY know better than the people.  Think about it, Alaskans!

Maybe We Ought to Rethink Global Warming   5 comments

April is the beginning of spring here. In most of the Lower 48, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Here in Alaska, things are a little later. Last week, we saw our first puddle and the snow started settling. Woo-hoo! Spring’s a-coming.

The Sunday morning we woke up to this!

4-6 inches fell from Sunday morning to last night around midnight.

This winter was the coldest winter in Fairbanks in 13 years. It still didn’t hold a candle to the winters we used to have when I was a kid, but it so cold one day in January that my car overheated when the onboard computer freaked out over how cold it was.

So, when the enviro-bullies start grinding their teeth in panic over global warming, I’m not overly concerned because —


Posted April 11, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska, Environmentalism

Tagged with ,

A Man Is Known By Whom He Supports   Leave a comment

Mark Begich has not passed any laws of his own and he’s signed on to mostly failed laws. Only one (1) of the laws he has cosponsored has passed. Remember, for the first two years he was in office, the Democrats held a veto-proof majority and he STILL didn’t manage to pass any legislation.

Co-sponsored Bills

  • S.582A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

    Introduced Mar 14, 201316 Views

  • S.552A bill to amend the Department of Energy Organization Act to replace the current requirement for biennial energy policy plan with a Quadrennia…

    Introduced Mar 13, 201327 Views

  • S.545A bill to improve hydropower, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 13, 201326 Views

  • S.551 – Capital Construction Fund Penalty Relief ActA bill to provide an election to terminate certain capital construction funds without penalties.

    Introduced Mar 13, 201320 Views

  • S.542A bill to provide limitations on maritime liens on fishing licenses and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 13, 201326 Views

  • S.519A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve early education.

    Introduced Mar 11, 201347 Views

  • S.Res.74A resolution supporting the goals of International Women’s Day.

    Senate Passed Mar 11, 201336 Views

  • S.480 – NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013A bill to improve the effectiveness of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by clarifying reporting requirements related to a…

    Introduced Mar 06, 201322 Views

  • S.470A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to require that the Purple Heart occupy a position of precedence above the new Distinguished War…

    Introduced Mar 06, 201333 Views

  • S.475 – Eunice Kennedy Shriver ActA bill to reauthorize the Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act of 2004, to provide assistance to Best Buddies to support the expansion a…

    Introduced Mar 06, 201326 Views

  • S.455A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to transport individuals to and from facilities o…

    Introduced Mar 05, 201320 Views

  • S.461 – Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2013A bill to exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 05, 201321 Views

  • S.J.Res.10A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women.

    Introduced Mar 05, 201332 Views

  • S.Res.65A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to cont…

    Introduced Feb 28, 201360 Views

  • S.390 – Child Care and Resources Education Act of 2013A bill to amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to authorize a national toll-free referral line and website, to develop…

    Introduced Feb 27, 201317 Views

  • S.14 – Southeast Alaska Native Land Conveyance ActA bill to provide for the partial settlement of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

    Introduced Feb 26, 201313 Views

  • S.375 – Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity ActA bill to require Senate candidates to file designations, statements, and reports in electronic form.

    Introduced Feb 25, 201318 Views

  • S.326 – After School for America’s Children ActA bill to reauthorize 21st century community learning centers, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 14, 201322 Views

  • S.370 – Teaching Geography Is Fundamental ActA bill to improve and expand geographic literacy among kindergarten through grade 12 students in the United States by improving professional d…

    Introduced Feb 14, 201315 Views

  • S.325A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to increase the maximum age for children eligible for medical care under the CHAMPVA program, an…

    Introduced Feb 14, 20139 Views

  • S.363 – Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013A bill to expand geothermal production, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 14, 20135 Views

  • S.360 – Public Lands Service Corps Act of 1993A bill to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to expand the authorization of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior t…

    Introduced Feb 14, 20137 Views

  • S.362 – Geothermal Exploration and Technology Act of 2013A bill to promote the mapping and development of United States geothermal resources by establishing a direct loan program for high risk geothe…

    Introduced Feb 14, 20139 Views

  • S.340 – Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection ActA bill to provide for the settlement of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 14, 201311 Views

  • S.322 – Ready to Learn ActA bill to set the United States on track to ensure children are ready to learn when they begin kindergarten.

    Introduced Feb 13, 201315 Views

  • S.Res.31A resolution celebrating Black History Month.

    Senate Passed Feb 13, 201323 Views

  • S.309A bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol.

    Introduced Feb 13, 201314 Views

  • S.294 – Ruth Moore Act of 2013A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the disability compensation evaluation procedure of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs…

    Introduced Feb 13, 201322 Views

  • S.269 – Antigua Convention Implementing Act of 2013A bill to establish uniform administrative and enforcement authorities for the enforcement of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protec…

    Introduced Feb 11, 201318 Views

  • S.267 – Pirate Fishing Elimination ActA bill to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing through port State measures.

    Introduced Feb 11, 201310 Views

  • S.264 – Excellence in Mental Health ActA bill to expand access to community mental health centers and improve the quality of mental health care for all Americans.

    Introduced Feb 07, 201325 Views

  • S.235 – Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Land Transfer ActA bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property located in Anchorage, Alaska, from the United States to the Alaska Native Tribal Heal…

    Introduced Feb 07, 201310 Views

  • S.240 – Reserve Retirement Deployment Credit Correction ActA bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to modify the per-fiscal year calculation of days of certain active duty or active service used …

    Introduced Feb 07, 201312 Views

  • S.239A bill to extend the frontier extended stay clinic demonstration.

    Introduced Feb 07, 20136 Views

  • S.237 – Advancing FASD Research, Prevention, and Services ActA bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and extend the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome prevention and services program, and for ot…

    Introduced Feb 07, 201310 Views

  • S.234 – Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2013A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to permit certain retired members of the uniformed services who have a service-connected disabil…

    Introduced Feb 07, 201312 Views

  • S.230A bill to authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, a…

    Introduced Mar 14, 201312 Views

  • S.249 – Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013A bill to provide for the expansion of affordable refinancing of mortgages held by the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal H…

    Introduced Feb 07, 201331 Views

  • S.217 – High School Data Transparency Act of 2013A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require the Secretary of Education to collect information from coeducati…

    Introduced Feb 04, 201312 Views

  • S.226 – Parental Bereavement Act of 2013A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to provide leave because of the death of a son or daughter.

    Introduced Feb 04, 201313 Views

  • S.218 – Harbor Maintenance Act of 2013A bill to ensure that amounts credited to the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are used for harbor maintenance.

    Introduced Feb 04, 201320 Views

  • S.209A bill to require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks by the Comptroller Genera…

    Introduced Feb 07, 201323 Views

  • S.200A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the interment in national cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Adm…

    Introduced Jan 31, 20139 Views

  • S.192 – Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013A bill to enhance the energy security of United States allies, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Jan 31, 201313 Views

  • S.Res.24A resolution commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

    Senate Passed Jan 31, 201312 Views

  • S.182 – Anchorage Land Conveyance Act of 2013A bill to provide for the unencumbering of title to non-Federal land owned by the city of Anchorage, Alaska, for purposes of economic developm…

    Introduced Jan 30, 20135 Views

  • S.181 – Niblack and Bokan Mountain Mining Area Roads Authorization ActA bill to authorize the establishment of the Niblack and Bokan Mountain mining area road corridors in the State of Alaska, and for other purpo…

    Introduced Jan 30, 20134 Views

  • S.162 – Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013A bill to reauthorize and improve the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004.

    Introduced Jan 28, 201319 Views

  • S.156 – Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use ActA bill to allow for the harvest of gull eggs by the Huna Tlingit people within Glacier Bay National Park in the State of Alaska.

    Introduced Jan 28, 20135 Views

  • S.157 – Denali National Park Improvement ActA bill to provide for certain improvements to the Denali National Park and Preserve in the State of Alaska, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 14, 201310 Views

Mark Begich Votes   Leave a comment

Click here for 8 full quotes on Budget & Economy OR background on Budget & Economy.

  • Closed $33M budget gap without using one-time reserves. (Jul 2008)
  • No secret earmarks; full online disclosure. (May 2008)
  • As mayor: bond rating up; jobs increased; taxes down. (Apr 2008)
  • Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (May 2009)
  • Voted YES on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Feb 2009)
  • More enforcement of mortgage fraud and TARP fraud. (May 2009)
  • Ban abusive credit practices & enhance consumer disclosure. (Feb 2009)

 Mark Begich on Civil Rights 
Click here for 3 full quotes on Civil Rights OR background on Civil Rights.

  • Added sexual orientation to Anchorage non-discrimination law. (Nov 2008)
  • ENDA: prohibit employment discrimination for gays. (Jun 2009)
  • Prohibit sexual-identity discrimination at schools. (Mar 2011)

 Mark Begich on Corporations 
Click here for 2 full quotes on Corporations OR background on Corporations.

  • Expand lending caps for credit unions to small business. (Mar 2012)
  • Rated 71% by UFCW, indicating a mixed management/labor voting record. (May 2012)

 Mark Begich on Crime 
Click here for 3 full quotes on Crime OR background on Crime.

  • Added $5M and 13 more police to Anchorage budget. (Oct 2008)
  • Added city police; pushed anti-gang & cyber-crime units. (Apr 2008)
  • Three strikes traffic violators should face felonies. (Oct 2006)

 Mark Begich on Drugs 
Click here for the full quote on Drugs OR background on Drugs.

  • Prevent youth from trying the deadly drug methamphetamine. (Jul 2008)

 Mark Begich on Education 
Click here for 3 full quotes on Education OR background on Education.

  • Local control and accountability of America’s schools. (Aug 2008)
  • Professional development grants for elementary principals. (Jul 2010)
  • $25B to renovate or repair elementary schools. (Sep 2011)

 Mark Begich on Energy & Oil 
Click here for 10 full quotes on Energy & Oil OR background on Energy & Oil.

  • Advocate for opening up ANWR to drilling. (Nov 2008)
  • Short term: $2.5B for LIHEAP; 70M bbl from strategic reserve. (Sep 2008)
  • Long term: develop ANWR; build renewable energy plants. (Sep 2008)
  • Support US participation in binding climate agreements. (Sep 2008)
  • Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (May 2008)
  • Alaska is ground zero for global warming. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax. (Apr 2009)
  • Voted YES on requiring full Senate debate and vote on cap-and-trade. (Apr 2009)
  • Allow horizontal drilling into Alaska’s Coastal Plain. (Feb 2009)

 Mark Begich on Environment 
Click here for 4 full quotes on Environment OR background on Environment.

  • Implemented energy efficiency and conservation in Anchorage. (May 2008)
  • Respect unique cultural role of subsistence whaling. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Aug 2009)
  • Rated 100% by HSLF, indicating a pro-animal welfare voting record. (Jan 2012)

 Mark Begich on Families & Children 
Click here for the full quote on Families & Children OR background on Families & Children.

  • Increase number of children eligible for free school meals. (Oct 2009)

 Mark Begich on Foreign Policy 
Click here for 6 full quotes on Foreign Policy OR background on Foreign Policy.

  • Rebuild US reputation by diplomatic efforts. (Sep 2008)
  • Pay dues to UN, and cooperate with ICC. (Sep 2008)
  • Supports adding 1% of US budget to international aid. (Sep 2008)
  • Rated 0 by AAI, indicating a mixed Arab/Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
  • Integrate gender into diplomatic and foreign aid processes. (Sep 2012)
  • Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza. (Nov 2012)

 Mark Begich on Free Trade 
Click here for the full quote on Free Trade OR background on Free Trade.

  • Capitalize on our assets in the global economy. (Jul 2007)

 Mark Begich on Government Reform 
Click here for 13 full quotes on Government Reform OR background on Government Reform.

  • Brought greater openness to city government. (May 2008)
  • Increase financial transparency for Senate staff. (May 2008)
  • Senate lobbying disclosures should include family ties. (May 2008)
  • Campaign transparency with sortable online database. (May 2008)
  • No secret meetings; full appointment disclosure for Senators. (May 2008)
  • No more automatic pay raises for Senators. (May 2008)
  • No revolving door for former senate staff to lobby. (May 2008)
  • No campaign fundraising through private foundations. (May 2008)
  • Support an Independent Office of Public Integrity. (May 2008)
  • Voted YES on Congressional pay raise. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted YES on providing a US House seat for the District of Columbia. (Feb 2009)
  • Require full disclosure of independent campaign expenditures. (Jul 2012)
  • Repeal automatic Congressional pay raises. (Jan 2009)

 Mark Begich on Gun Control 
Click here for 7 full quotes on Gun Control OR background on Gun Control.

  • Strongly supports Constitutional right to bear arms. (Aug 2008)
  • Lifetime member of NRA. (Apr 2008)
  • Voted YES on allowing firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains. (Apr 2009)
  • National cross-state standard for concealed carry. (Jan 2009)
  • Sponsored loosening restrictions on interstate gun purchases. (Oct 2011)
  • Allow veterans to register unlicensed guns acquired abroad. (Oct 2011)
  • Apply concealed carry permit to all other states where legal. (Feb 2009)

 Mark Begich on Health Care 
Click here for 8 full quotes on Health Care OR background on Health Care.

  • Protect future Medicare with “medical home” model. (Oct 2008)
  • Privatization undermines the integrity of Medicare. (Oct 2008)
  • Increase Medicare reimbursements and affordable health care. (May 2008)
  • Favors expanding Alaska’s Denali KidCare program. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts. (May 2011)
  • Voted YES on regulating tobacco as a drug. (Jun 2009)
  • Voted YES on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. (Jan 2009)
  • Expand the National Health Service Corps. (Mar 2009)

 Mark Begich on Homeland Security 
Click here for 9 full quotes on Homeland Security OR background on Homeland Security.

  • Consult with Congress on major military actions. (Sep 2008)
  • Ratify Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; no new nukes. (Sep 2008)
  • Repeal the Patriot Act. (Aug 2008)
  • Pledges full support for the 21st Century GI Bill. (May 2008)
  • Increased Anchorage’s support for military personnel. (Apr 2008)
  • Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps. (Feb 2011)
  • Repeal Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays. (Mar 2010)
  • Military spouses don’t lose voting residency while abroad. (Feb 2009)
  • Expand health services for women veterans. (Mar 2009)

 Mark Begich on Immigration 
Click here for the full quote on Immigration OR background on Immigration.

  • Reservations about denying illegals’ retirement benefits. (Oct 2008)

 Mark Begich on Jobs 
Click here for 3 full quotes on Jobs OR background on Jobs.

  • Anchorage employment grew by 800 jobs since Jan. 2008. (Jul 2008)
  • Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot. (Mar 2009)
  • Ban discriminatory compensation; allow 2 years to sue. (Jan 2009)

 Mark Begich on Principles & Values 
Click here for 4 full quotes on Principles & Values OR background on Principles & Values.

  • Democrats advertise Stevens’ calls secretly recorded by FBI. (Oct 2008)
  • Reputation as mayor for getting things done. (Sep 2008)
  • Served 10 years on Anchorage Assembly and 5 years as Mayor. (Apr 2008)
  • Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court. (Aug 2009)

 Mark Begich on Social Security 
Click here for 4 full quotes on Social Security OR background on Social Security.

  • Treat “Notch babies” equally with all other seniors. (Oct 2008)
  • Adjust Soc. Sec. cost of living by consumer price index. (Oct 2008)
  • No privatization; no individual investment accounts. (Oct 2008)
  • Elderly are entitled to solvent & reliable Social Security. (Aug 2008)

 Mark Begich on Tax Reform 
Click here for 2 full quotes on Tax Reform OR background on Tax Reform.

  • Extend tax cuts; and end the AMT. (Aug 2008)
  • Minimum tax rate of 30% for those earning over $1 million. (Mar 2012)

 Mark Begich on Technology 
Click here for 2 full quotes on Technology OR background on Technology.

  • Warrantless wiretapping infringes on constitutional rights. (Aug 2008)
  • Invest in Port of Anchorage & pedestrian-friendly downtown. (Jul 2008)

 Mark Begich on War & Peace 
Click here for 4 full quotes on War & Peace OR background on War & Peace.

  • Fully fund US contribution to UN operations in Darfur. (Sep 2008)
  • We must responsibly re-deploy out of Iraq. (May 2008)
  • Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment. (May 2012)
  • Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program. (Apr 2009)

 Mark Begich on Welfare & Poverty 
Click here for 2 full quotes on Welfare & Poverty OR background on Welfare & Poverty.

  • Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention. (Mar 2009)
  • Support school breakfast for low-income children. (Mar 2009)

Is This Doing A Good Job?   Leave a comment

Mark Begich votes with the Democratic Party 100% of the time, according to Open Congress. That should tell you where he stands in terms of a conservative population state, but here are some specifics.

He’s sponsored 23 bills, none of which have become law. So, now only is he a raving liberal — please do take a look at the bills he’s sponsored, but he’s an inept lawmaker. He’s been in the Senate for five years and has not managed to get even one law of his own passed.

  • S.518 – H2O Visa for Seafood Processing ActA bill to authorize the issuance of H2O nonimmigrant visas for aliens temporarily performing labor in the seafood processing industry.

    Introduced Mar 11, 201320 Views

  • S.520A bill to strengthen Federal consumer protection and product traceability with respect to commercially marketed seafood, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 11, 201322 Views

  • S.438 – Tax Credit for Early Educators Act of 2013A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax credit for professional school personnel in early childhood education, to e…

    Introduced Mar 04, 201313 Views

  • S.442 – Child Care Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013A bill to establish a program to provide child care through public-private partnerships.

    Introduced Mar 04, 201322 Views

  • S.440 – Preparing and Reinvesting in Early Education Act of 2013A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for loan forgiveness for early childhood educators, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Mar 04, 201326 Views

  • S.441 – Professional Development for Educators Act of 2013A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 by establishing a program to provide professional development activities fo…

    Introduced Mar 04, 201318 Views

  • S.439 – Career and Technical Education Facilities Modernization ActA bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 by establishing a program to support the modernization, renovation, or repa…

    Introduced Mar 04, 201322 Views

  • S.428 – Arctic Deep Water Ports Enhancement Act of 2013A bill to expedite the development of Arctic deepwater ports and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 28, 201315 Views

  • S.386 – Rural Educator and American Community Housing Act of 2013A bill to amend the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to provide and improve housing in the rural areas for educators, public safety…

    Introduced Feb 26, 201311 Views

  • S.384A bill to exempt National Forest System land in the State of Alaska from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

    Introduced Feb 26, 20138 Views

  • S.385A bill to deem the submission of certain claims to an Indian Health Service contracting officer as timely.

    Introduced Feb 26, 201311 Views

  • S.378 – Travel Reimbursement for Inactive Duty Training Personnel (TRIP) Act of 2013A bill to amend title 37, United States Code, to provide travel and transportation allowances for members of the reserve components for long d…

    Introduced Feb 25, 201315 Views

  • S.308 – Protecting and Preserving Social Security ActA bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make improvements in the old-age, survivors, and …

    Introduced Feb 13, 201317 Views

  • S.283 – Investing in Innovation for Education Act of 2013A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to invest in innovation for education.

    Introduced Feb 12, 201312 Views

  • S.287A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to expand the definition of homeless veteran for purposes of benefits under the laws administere…

    Introduced Feb 12, 201311 Views

  • S.282 – Counseling for Career Choice ActA bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a new counseling program.

    Introduced Feb 12, 20138 Views

  • S.272 – Arctic Research, Monitoring, and Observing Act of 2013A bill to promote research, monitoring, and observation of the Arctic and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 11, 20138 Views

  • S.271 – Better Health in the Arctic ActA bill to improve Arctic health.

    Introduced Feb 11, 20137 Views

  • S.270 – United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs Act of 2013A bill to amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs.

    Introduced Feb 11, 20138 Views

  • S.246 – Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States ActA bill to prevent the escapement of genetically altered salmon in the United States, and for other purposes.

    Introduced Feb 07, 20138 Views

  • S.248A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require labeling of genetically engineered fish.

    Introduced Feb 07, 201312 Views

  • S.199 – Alaska Adjacent Zone Safe Oil Transport and Revenue Sharing ActA bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require that oil produced from Federal leases in certain Arctic waters be transported…

    Introduced Jan 31, 201314 Views

  • S.153 – Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013A bill to amend section 520J of the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for mental health first aid training programs.

    Introduced Jan 24, 201323 Views

Mark did finally grow a pair and vote against reauthorizing the Patriot Act and he has spoken up for and voted against forwarding a gun control bill, but these votes are too little, too late in a career of collusion.

Meet Senator Mark Begich   Leave a comment

When Mark Begich first announced his candidacy to represent Alaska in the US Senate, I was mildly interested. Although I’m a conservative and he was the Democratic mayor of Anchorage, I am a non-partisan and have voted for Democrats on occasion. I admit, I didn’t know much about Mark. His father, Nick, had been Alaska’s representative until he died in a plane crash in 1972. My father, an old-style Democrat, knew and liked Nick a lot and my mother, another conservative non-partisan, also thought he was a fine representative for Alaska. In fact, she had been lobbying Nick to run against Senator Mike Gravel when Nick died.

So, I checked out Mark Begich.

He was born in Anchorage, he lost his father when he was 10 and was raised by his mother. He attended Stellar Secondary School , an alternative “charter-type” school that allows the student to direct his own education. That could be part of the problem. Although he has taken continuing education classes at University of Alaska-Anchorage, he is the only current Senator who lacks a college degree. This is not a huge issue for me … my favorite Alaska governor Walter Hickel had to quit school after the 8th grade because of the Depression and he did fine without it — made a lot of money, was Secretary of the Interior, and governor of the State of Alaska twice. A college degree is not a necessity … but it may explain some of Mark’s collusion with his fellow Democrats. He may feel inadequate.

Given who is father was, he has political connections in a small-population state like Alaska. He was elected to the Anchorage (Borough – like a county)Assembly in 1988, at age 26, and served until 1998, including three years as chairman and two as vice chairman. In 1989, Begich led the opposition to the sale of the municipally-owned Anchorage Telephone Utility (ATU) to private interests. ATU was eventually sold in 1999 (after Begich had left the Assembly). Begich was also one of the chief sponsors of the introduction of photo radar, against the overwhelming opposition of the public (a red flag in a populist state) and, eventually, the State Supreme Court (which takes issues like privacy very seriously).

Surpringly, given his lack of former education, Begich served for a number of years on the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, including as its chair. In 2001, Governor Tony Knowles appointed Begich to the University of Alaska Board of Regents, but the Legislature did not confirm the appointment. Good for the Legislature. He doesn’t seem qualified.

Begich ran two unsuccessful campaigns for mayor in 1994 and 2000 before being elected in 2003, winning by eleven votes.

He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1994 against Rick Mystrom, and in 2000 against then-Assemblyman George Wuerch. In the 2003 mayoral race he narrowly defeated both Mystrom and Wuerch, earning only 11 votes over the number needed to win, due to a simultaneously approved law increasing the threshold needed to avoid a runoff election from 40 to 45 percent. He was re-elected in April 2006, winning against local advertising and radio personality Jack Frost. Though the office is officially nonpartisan, Begich was the first Democrat to be elected Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage since Tony Knowles, who was later elected to two terms as Governor of Alaska.

One reason for this is that Tony Knowles was hands-down a horrible mayor who inherited a city with a healthy budget surplus and ran it deeply into debt. The voters of Anchorage were understandably nervous of Democrats following that.

On February 27, 2008, Begich announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for the United States Senate.  After winning the Democratic nomination, he went on to face Republican incumbent Ted Stevens in the general election. The polls showed the race to be leaning for Begich due to Stevens’ indictment and felony conviction, both of which were thrown out due to prosecutor misconduct which included hiding evidence and suppressing witnesses which would have cleared Senator Stevens.  On November 18, 2008, the Associated Press called the election for Begich, who was leading and likely to win by more than the 0.5% margin needed to trigger an automatic recount, with the remainder of uncounted ballots originating from the Anchorage area. Stevens conceded the race the next day.

The story here is not that Mark Begich won the election. It’s that Mark Begich won the election by ½% of the vote against a man who had been convicted in federal court. Just stop and think about that. Reread the sentence. One-half of one percent of an election against a man who had been convicted in federal court just eight days before.

Begich’s victory over Stevens in the 2008 Senate elections made him the first Democrat to represent Alaska in either chamber of the United States Congress since Mike Gravel, who was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1980 and left the Senate in 1981 upon the expiration of his term. Begich’s father, Nick Begich, was the last Democrat to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he did until he was declared legally dead at the end of 1972.

Stevens’s conviction was later set aside due to prosecutorial misconduct. Alaska Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich issued a call for Begich to resign so a special election could be held. Ruedrich argued that Begich’s win was illegitimate because of “improper influence from the ‘corrupt’ Department of Justice.” The same day Governor Sarah Palin seconded Ruedrich’s call. Begich said in a statement that he intended to serve his full six-year term. Alaskans set about to find a way to recall Begich, but that’s one progressive policy that has not been instituted.

Begich is a former member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. His split from the mayor’s group was well-publicized.

Nationally, Begich is considered a moderate, but in a very conservative state, he’s a raving liberal. He’s pro-choice (which sort of negates his Catholicism, I think). He publicly supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and gun rights (I think he’s serious about that one). He also supported benefits for same-sex couples when he’s the senator from a state that overwhelmingly voted in a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act. Begich became the Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee in 2011, which is basically just an extension of the Democratic Party — the Senate doing the party’s job for it.

More importantly, there is not a single vote where Mark broke with the party leadership, even when Alaskans were lobbying heavily for him to do so. He voted for TARP 2, the stimulus, cash-for-clunkers, and the Affordable Care Act — which won by just ONE vote because of the required threshhold of a reconciliation bill. In other words, Mark made ObamaCare the law of the land.

So, I don’t care for Mark Begich. I consider him a member of the ruling class. I promised him in 2009 that I’d be keeping an eye on him and would let people know how well he’s done so that he can’t easily lie to get re-elected.

Don Young Is Not A Racist!   Leave a comment

First, let me preface this by saying I’ve met the man several times and spent an entire day with him back when I was in college. So this is not just a distant observation. Politics in Alaska is closer than it is in almost any other state.

Don Young made an unfortunate comment that is “so Don”. He’s a free-speaking, off-the-cuff, doesn’t-care-if-he-offends Alaskan. This is what Alaskans love about Don. He’s one of us! You Lower 48ers can keep your suave, not-exactly-sure-where-they-stand Congresspeople. We’re hoping to replace Don with someone more conservative/libertarian and just as Alaskan.

His wife of several decades, Lulu, was a Gwich’in Athabaskan (Alaskan Indian). His daughters are also Indians. He and Lulu were completely devoted to one another. His early career was as mayor of Ft. Yukon, a Native village. He still has a home there and still goes back there during vacations and people there say he’s “just folks”. He’s not a racist.

What he said was inappropriate, although if you enter the country illegally, you are a criminal, so you really shouldn’t get up in arms when a citizen calls you a derogatory name. It might have been more appropriate to just say “illegal immigrant”, but the man’s getting old and maybe he’s tired of being politically correct when – like most of the state he represents – he isn’t.

Don has had a long and distinguished career. He chaired the House Transportation Committee for six years and the House Resources Committee for six years. He is currently the second-highest ranking Republican on both committees. He would be chairman of one of them if he hadn’t refused to sign the “no earmarks” pledge. His voting record is moderate, mostly because he has a very pro-labor record. That’s not surprising considering that almost 25% of the workers in Alaska are represented by labor unions.  He’s also anti-abortion, anti-gun control and anti-federal land control. He is one of far-too-few Republicans who voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. From a purely Alaskan standpoint, he has been very good to Alaska – steering a lot of federal dollars our way. As an Alaskan, I see that as a drop in the bucket to what Alaska’s resources pay to the federal government and what economic opportunities Alaskans have missed because of the federal stranglehold on our land, our resources and our environment. I used to say “Release the land hostage and Alaska will take no more federal pork.” These days, I see the federal government is in so much trouble financially from all the spending and I advocate for our delegation to cut pork wherever it can – but I still think the feds ought to release the land hostage. Don also is a big promoter of the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which is still on the table – languishing in the Senate.

So, Don is a mixed bag as a representative. I don’t think he’s any more corrupt than any of his colleagues. I like him personally. He’s very Alaskan. And, he is definitely not a racist.

This is not to say that I am not working toward the goal of replacing Don in the House. Sean Parnell nearly won against him in the 2008 primary and he’s already announced he won’t be running for a second (and a half) gubernatorial term in 2014, so chances are good, Don will be retiring. I personally hope that Don chooses to step down gracefully and allow Sean Parnell (or some other equal candidate) to take his place as the nominee. I’d really like to see an Alaskan Independent Party candidate go to DC. Don’’s done well by Alaska, but the times have changed. We need legislators who are willing to cut the pork and the regulation while still fighting for Alaska’s equal treatment among the 50 states.  Don needs to let younger folks take up that challenge.

Let’s Join PETA   Leave a comment

Posted March 26, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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