Editorials

The Bookworm Sez: 'Think First' when dealing with co-workers

The lady in the next cubicle over is making you almost speechless.

She talks too loud, first of all, and you constantly hear every word she says — most of it incessant and inconsequential, which makes you want to scream. She’s a whiner and a gossip, too, and you wonder what she says about you. Someday, you’re sure to find out since she’s also on your team.

You’d like to talk to her about it but you’re not sure you could, at least not calmly. But after you’ve read “Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People” by Renée Evenson, you’ll know exactly what to say.

EDITORIAL: Shoring up pension liabilities is right move for state budget

Alaska is on an unsustainable financial track if it doesn’t adjust its spending and liabilities.

The unfunded pension liability for public employees and teachers’ retirement systems in particular stands at $12 billion. The state currently makes annual payments of $600 million.

EDITORIAL: IRS should keep its mitts off 'political activity'

It remains beyond dispute that there is much wrong with American campaign-finance law.

So much of the so-called dark money. So little disclosure. Political campaign finances have entered a “black ops” stage in which tens of millions of dollars are being spent each year by faceless organizations.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Happy Thanksgiving … now pass the turkey(s)

It’s that time of year when we give thanks, and pass the turkey.

We’ll get to the turkey, but first let’s give thanks.

As we near the end of another year, we are thankful to our readers that we work for every week.

We are thankful for our families and friends, and for our unofficial family here in the green Morris building off Dimond in Anchorage.

EDITORIAL: A big gas line remains possible, fiscal stability necessary

With so much focus on the local natural gas trucking project, we haven’t heard much about a big natural gas line lately. The project’s success is far from certain, but several recent developments seem to bode well for it.

Nevertheless, the state still must address the need to provide a firm tax rate on the gas. Until that’s done, the gas will remain less marketable.

AJOC EDITORIAL: No fixing Obamachaos

The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona is a tiptoe through the tulips next to the stampede of Democrats fleeing the effects of their law known as Obamacare.

Tons of angry reality armed with razor-sharp hooves and horns is barreling toward Democrats in the form of millions of canceled policies, skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, lost network providers and what can only be described as the greatest website failure of all time.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Legal, historic harvest is not bycatch

“Words have meaning, and names have power.”

The word of the day is bycatch, and those who would use it against Cook Inlet setnetters well understand the power of words.

The quote is attributable to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the 17th century Spanish author who wrote the classic novel “Don Quixote” about the man from La Mancha who travels the land engaging in misguided quests that always end badly yet never shake a groundless faith he has acted heroically.

FISH FACTOR: Observers track 'substantial discards' from halibut fleet

Keeping tabs on how many and what kinds of fish are coming over the rails is a key tool in Alaska’s highly successful fishery management programs. For nearly four decades, that has been the job of fishery observers who track everything that is hauled aboard trawlers, crabbers and most other fishing vessels 60 feet and longer.

Starting this year and for the first time ever, observers were placed aboard smaller boats and Alaska’s hook and line fleet to start getting information about “removals” in that gear group’s fisheries.

AJOC EDITORIAL: More math education needed ... for Democrats

For a party that spends as much time as it does carping about education funding, the least the state Democrats could do is open a math book.

A pair of late October announcements had Democrats falling over themselves yet again with embarrassing attempts at arithmetic and basic accounting in their ongoing campaign against the oil tax reform passed as Senate Bill 21 this spring.

EDITORIAL: Dems see light on Obamacare

So now they tell us.

It may take some of us a while to get the word, but at least a couple of U.S. senators, including one from Arkansas, have finally seen the light where Obamacare is concerned. And all it took was a trainwreck-in-process, specifically the one called Obamacare.

EDITORIAL: Spending down under sequester; ACA site is a mess

Maybe you missed this good news, amidst all that shutdown, debt ceiling and continuing resolution talk.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Budget Control Act — commonly known, and roundly disparaged, as “the sequester” — has quietly accomplished what many would have considered impossible. For the first 11 months of fiscal 2013, federal spending is down $127 billion.

FISH FACTOR: Crab fleet hits water after shutdown; 'cuke' quota rises

The Bering Sea crab fleet was ready to head to the fishing grounds over the weekend beginning Oct. 18 after the government shutdown and unissued licenses stalled the Oct. 15 start of the crab season. Skippers of the 80 boats estimated the extra time tied up in Dutch Harbor cost them each $1,000 per day.

Meanwhile, the situation was even worse for small boat crabbers at Kodiak and the Westward region who learned there would not even be a tanner fishery come January.

EDITORIAL: The insufferable Karzai

It would be hard to imagine a more galling expression of ingratitude than Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s assertion in a BBC interview that NATO forces — which include our Diggers — have brought only suffering and loss of life to his country, and no gains in terms of security.

Not a word from him, of course, about the 3,500 NATO soldiers who have been killed over the past 12 years, their lives sacrificed in the cause of propping up his government and defending Afghanistan against the obscurantist Taliban, or of the thousands more wounded or permanently maimed.

EDITORIAL: Good, bad and ugly of Fairbanks gas arguments

Testimony about competing natural gas delivery plans before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska featured some sharp exchanges during the past few weeks, but the dispute isn’t about who has the best zingers. It’s about who can provide the cheapest gas to the most people in the Fairbanks area

FISH FACTOR: Shutdown stalls crab fleet; state shellfish farms need seeds

Kodiak’s waterfront is bedecked with hundreds of “7 by’s” as boats stack their pots and gear up for the big crab fisheries in the Bering Sea.

The Bristol Bay red king crab season is set to open on October 15, with a harvest of 8.6 million pounds, similar to last year. A reopened tanner crab fishery will produce a three million pound catch; the numbers for Bering Sea snow crab, Alaska’s largest crab fishery, is about 54 million pounds.

FISH FACTOR: Pebble opponents will press on; otters impact Dungie permits

News that mining giant Anglo American plans to withdraw from the Pebble Mine project was greeted with joy by opponents who hailed it as a victory for the people of Bristol Bay and for the region’s resources.

Pebble would be the largest gold and copper mine in North America, and its location looms over the world’s biggest sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay. But even though London-based Anglo has pulled out of the Pebble Partnership, Northern Dynasty Minerals of Canada still remains. And they insist the project is still very much alive.

The Bookworm Sez: 'Keeping it Civil' a captivating read

You went to work today, and nothing happened.

Oh, there were the usual things: papers to sign, calls to make, clients to soothe. Your job didn’t entail someone losing their home. Nobody relinquished their children. Retirement accounts kept intact, belongings weren’t divvied up, and checkbooks weren’t decimated. Nobody lost their life at your job today.

But Margaret Klaw sees those things — and more. She’s a family lawyer, and in her new book “Keeping It Civil,” she writes about her most memorable court cases.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Another Senate race, another attack on free speech

For the second U.S. Senate election in a row, the incumbent campaign is threatening Alaska television stations over political ads it doesn’t like.

In 2010 while fighting for her political life after losing the Republican primary to Joe Miller, Sen. Lisa Murkowski had her legal counsel send letters to Alaska television stations warning them that they were putting their Federal Communications Commission licenses at risk by running ads against her that were paid for by the Tea Party Express.

FISH FACTOR: Salmon permit prices rising along with price per pound

Alaska’s record salmon season has permit brokers hopping as buyers seek to break into or expand their fishing opportunities in many fisheries.    

Notably, brokers say there is “a lot of great buzz” at Bristol Bay, despite a lackluster sockeye fishery that saw the bulk of the red run come and go eight days early.

“Prior to the season the drift permits went for under $100,000, but we just sold one for $125,000,” said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Jackboots and fines latest examples of federal overkill

Sept. 5 was just another day for the feds in Alaska.

Two stories moved across the wire that day, both neatly encapsulating how the Environmental Protection Agency, like most all federal agencies now days, has morphed from public servant to public enemy.

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