Alaska's King

This site is for the exploration and discussion of a Constitutional Monarchy, as well as important Alaska news and information. Feel free to post your comments.

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Location: Alaska, United States

Welcome from the King of Alaska.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Communities to Review USA PATRIOT Act Around Independence Day

Before Congress votes to reauthorize or amend controversial sections of the USA PATRIOT Act set to expire this year, a coalition of grassroots groups and national organizations plans to make sure Congress members hear their constituents’ concerns. From July 2 through 8, they will be holding educational and civic events dubbed “Patriot Days of Action” in cities nationwide to encourage people to consider how the Act affects civil liberties and to join in the growing national debate.

Community-based coalitions will also be visiting their Congress members’ district offices to discuss proposed legislation they see as antidotes to post-9/11 federal excesses –such as the SAFE Act, Freedom to Read Protection Act, the Restore FOIA Act, the Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act, and other liberty-restoring bills. Information about Patriot Days of Action, including event postings, suggestions, materials, and endorsing organizations, is at

“Independence Day is a good time to expose our post-September 11 laws and policies such as the so-called PATRIOT Act to the ‘rockets’ red glare’ and to ask ourselves what our founding fathers and mothers would think if they were alive today,” said Nancy Talanian, director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), which is sponsoring Patriot Days of Action. “They would be disappointed to learn, for example, how the USA PATRIOT Act diminishes the Bill of Rights they fought so hard for, by weakening our rights to free speech and assembly, our right to be left alone if we are doing nothing wrong, and to receive due process of law. They would surely notice that the balance of power has shifted in many cases, so that the judicial and legislative branches no longer have oversight over certain executive branch actions.”

So far nearly 400 state, local, and county governments serving a combined population of 62 million have enacted resolutions and ordinances upholding their constituents’ civil liberties and criticizing laws and policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act that violate Bill of Rights protections. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas, as well as the state legislatures of Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, and Vermont have all passed resolutions. Organizations with resolutions include the American Library Association, the National League of Cities, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Electrical Workers Union, and more than 50 campus bodies.

Organizations endorsing Patriot Days of Action include the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Lawyers Guild, People For the American Way, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and several state and local organizations. Talanian hopes many cities will participate. “This is a critical moment for everyone who thinks they’ll ever need their civil liberties. We are seeing movement in Congress in both directions: A win in the House on the Bernie Sanders ‘Freedom to Read’ amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Science Appropriations bill, and a defeat in the Senate with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s support of an expansion of the Patriot Act providing “administrative subpoena power” for the FBI.”

Talanian warns, “The people must speak up now or forfeit the rights we celebrate on Independence Day.”

Source: Press Release

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Alaska Governor Signs Bills to Invest Oil Windfall in Alaska

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski signed the state's operating and capital budget bills at a ceremony in Anchorage Tuesday, investing part of the state's unanticipated $1 billion Fiscal Year 2005 oil windfall in K-12 schools and needed infrastructure around the state.

"We began this year with a clear vision to not only to craft a fiscal 2006 budget that meets our responsibilities to Alaskans, but to invest in the future of Alaska," Murkowski said. "We accomplished this with strong support for Alaska schools, a commitment to safe communities and a capital budget that puts Alaska to work."

"This budget represents a continuation of the commitment I made to Alaskans nearly three years ago to develop our resources, to develop our state and to build a better future for the next generation of Alaskans," Murkowski said.

Office of the Governor
Web Site

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Wasilla Man Offers Giant Mecha on eBay

For something different: "A news flash on the Palm Springs NewsChannel informs Techies with at least 40-thousand dollars to spare can bid on a towering mecha that shoots flames and has red glowing eyes.
Carlos Owens Junior of Wasilla, Alaska has listed his 18-foot handmade hydraulic exoskeleton on eBay.

The 27-year-old apprentice ironworker says he's selling the rust-red machine to fund construction of his next project -- a mobile amphibious mecha that would run on wheels or tracks.

Owens took almost two years and more than 20-thousand dollars to construct his prototype mecha in his parents' back yard. Unlike robots, which are operated remotely, mechas are operated by the person riding inside the frame.

It stands at 18ft tall, its over 8.5 ft wide, weighs in at 3000lbs.

From his listing: "This project has received international attention from many different press/media sources such as Stars and stripes magazine, FHM, CNET, G4 Tech TV,and the Associated press just to name a few, Links to these articles and more releases can be found at the following link as well as some video footage of the mech in action.

The first machine of its creation and design in the world designed for the specific purpose of troubleshooting the mechanical aspects of the first ever bi-pedal Mecha.

The NMX04-1A Prototype is an ( X ) type chassis Mecha meaning Anthropomorphic/humanoid."

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Free Government Research Reports

Submitted by an anonymous reader: "Ted Bridis of the Associated Press reports that more
than 8000 Congressional Research Service reports produced exclusively
for legislators are now available to the public for free
. The Center for Democracy & Technology's Open CRS project is a Web-based central clearinghouse that features several collections of government reports. The research service has '... a staff of more than 700 and a nearly $100 million budget ...' but 'CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.' The Open CRS project wants your help in obtaining and adding reports to the database."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Mystery of World's Fastest-growing Lakes Solved

In Alaska, thousands of mysterious lakes are all the same shape and have grown steadily for thousands of years, the geological record shows. They are the fastest growing lakes known in the world.

Scientists have tried various ideas to explain the steady growth -- the lakes expand up to 15 feet every year -- and the lakes' consistent shape and orientation, but no theory has held up.

Now a scientist who has worked previously on puzzles as wide-ranging as the spiral shape of Mars ice caps says he's solved the terrestrial mystery.

The solution might also help explain a series of oddly similar lakes near the U.S. East Coast.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Legislators seek advice on creating boroughs

We have some ideas about this: "The Alaska Legislature is forming an interim advisory commission to study the causes of economic hardships in rural communities and develop proposals to help them form local governments.

The resolution approving the Advisory Commission on Local Government says that in recent years, many small communities across the state have faced serious debt or have stopped providing local services."

The authors of the constitution had a vision for creating local government throughout the state, a vision that has been sidetracked.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

High court OKs personal property seizures

CNN reports that The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.

The erosion of our rights continues. Only 6 states allow taking, Alaska has no laws either way.

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Raven chicks saved from compost heap at landfill

Three raven chicks likely would have been ground up for compost, along with the pile of brush in which they were found, if they hadn't been squawking for food.

The racket got the attention of Ketchikan landfill scale operator Laura Huffine who found the chicks Sunday in an intact nest.

Huffine said Tuesday that she heard "this horrendous noise coming out of the brush pile as we passed." When she checked she said, "all I saw were huge pink mouths. It was a little startling, to tell the truth."

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Mat-Su officials reject proposal concerning police force

Borough officials have rejected a proposal by Mayor Tim Anderson that allows voters to decide whether the borough should have a police force. This story was posted here: Saturday, June 11, 2005 Matanuska-Susitna Borough-The Emerging Police State?

The sales tax is, likewise, postponed. At least for now. The carrot on the stick is property tax and the new cigarette tax. We'll see on July 12th.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Alaska's wealthiest local government -- is shutting down Barrow's public bus system

The borough includes the North Slope oil fields and northern segments of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in its industrial property tax base. Its tax is assessed at about $10 billion.

Packer said much of the revenues are quickly absorbed in running the 88,800-square-mile borough -- the largest in the state.

"People forget this was third-world conditions just 30 years ago," he said. "We've been bringing it up to present-world conditions, with a basic level of amenities. So it's a little condescending for people outside to say, 'Oh, you're the richest.' It's very expensive in the Arctic." Alternate transportation-Click to enlarge

Barrow is the northernmost town in the United States, with a population of 4,300 people.

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Higher metals prices mean boom times for Alaska

Higher metals prices proved particularly beneficial for Alaska's mining industry as substantial funding was made available for mine developments and exploration.

In a recent presentation at the Minexpo in Elko, Nevada, Richard Hughes, Development Specialist for the State of Alaska Office of Mineral Development estimated that 20% of the U.S. exploration dollar is now targeted for Alaskan projects. He estimated that six new mines were under development while at least 15 exploration projects had budgets of at least $1 million.

The total value of Alaska's mining industry, which had been fairly stable at around $1 billion for the past nine years, increased to $1.47 billion in 2004, for a 32% increase over the previous year, according to Hughes. He estimated that $67.8 million was spend for exploration, more than double the $27.6 million spent in 2003, while $187.7 million was spent on development last year.

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Alaska homeless shelter stops serving bear meat

A Juneau homeless shelter has stopped serving donated bear meat after learning the state prohibits nonprofit groups from accepting wild game meats such as bear, fox and walrus.

"We didn't know that it is illegal," said Jetta Whittaker, executive director of the Glory Hole.

For years, the Glory Hole accepted bear meat to supplement its meals for the homeless. The meat went into many recipes, including burgers, casseroles and spaghetti.

But last year, Whittaker learned that serving it was contrary to rules set by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. This year, it has meant turning down five offers of bear meat.

"That was 250 pounds of ground meat I could use for spaghetti sauce," said Bob Thompson, operations manager of the shelter. "We are protein-poor."

The Glory Hole rarely gets offers of deer because venison is more palatable to most people while bear meat has a stronger, wild smell, Whittaker said.

Some of the people served by the Glory Hole said they miss meat of any kind. David Kelley, who is staying at the shelter, said he appreciates the three meals a day but he is tired of eating starchy vegetables.

"I will eat whatever you put in front of me," Kelley said. "But you cannot live by starches alone."

Organizations such as the Food Bank of Alaska cannot accept bear meat because of the same regulation.

State food safety officials said even if the organizations could get bear meat from hunters for free, eating it could make people sick.

Domestic pigs and certain carnivorous animals, including bears, might be infested with the larvae of a species of worm called trichinella. That can cause trichinosis, which can result in diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems and even death in severe cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People may question why the state allows the distribution of pork but not of bear meat, but state officials said there are differences in how pork and bear meat are processed.

"Pork is raised commercially, slaughtered, inspected and processed under the regulatory guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture," said Ronald Klein, program manager of the DEC's food safety and sanitation program. "Wild game and bear meat are not."

Whittaker would like to see the agency create a method to test for trichinosis or relax the regulations.

"We serve a lot of guys who need protein to get their days going," Whittaker said.

A nonprofit with a yearly budget of $193,000, the Glory Hole has only $4,500 to churn out 54,000 meals a year for the homeless.

Dan Rasmussen, who cooks at the Glory Hole five days a week, said meat is the most popular item on the menu.

"When you serve oatmeal, probably six people show up," Rasmussen said. "The day I mixed 6 pounds of bacon with 10 dozen eggs, it was gone in 10 minutes."

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Alaska men should hit the trail for breasts

In the news: "I decided to run in the 5-mile Alaska Run for Women on June 11 because I thought it would be a good training run for the Mayor’s half-marathon, because my grandmother was a breast-cancer survivor and because I like breasts.

"That’s right. I like breasts. Even though our society has a hang-up about breasts, I don’t see anything wrong with anyone saying they like breasts. What’s not to like? Big, small, firm, soft – all breasts are great. They are cultural signs of femininity and maternity. We cloak them behind garments like secret treasures. They nourish our young.

"The east and west Spanish Peaks in southern Colorado rise from the Great Plains to over twelve-thousand feet. The local Indians revered them and called the twin peaks “Wahatoya,” or the breasts of the Earth. The springs that flow from these peaks brought life to the dry plains just as breasts bring life to all people."

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Warm Atlantic water comes to call on Arctic Ocean

Late last summer, Igor Dmitrenko and a few other scientists returned to Alaska from the top of the world with information about an immense pulse of warm water that had entered the Arctic Ocean. The scientists believe the warm stream of Atlantic water visiting the Arctic might affect the entire planet. "It's as if the planet became warmer in a single day," Polyakov said.

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Thousands of Alaskans Face Hardship

In what is supposed by many to be the most advanced country on Earth, thousands of Alaskan Citizens are struggling to enjoy the basics of life enjoyed and taken for granted by the rest of the United States.

Villages in Alaska are about to be cut off from electricity in one of the richest states of the U.S. This will mean an end to the already substandard chronic medical, dental, and basic standard of living already suffered by many Alaskans.

While the usual news outlets are focused and concerned by the plight of climbers on North America's tallest peak, Denali (AKA Mt McKinley), it is again a situation of the few versus the many.

Seven villages in Western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands are in jeopardy of losing electricity to their public buildings and water and sewer utilities this year because they cannot pay their bills.

The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, which provides electric service to 52 communities in rural Alaska, sent a letter to state lawmakers and the administration earlier this month informing them that 17 villages are severely delinquent in payment of the electricity bills.

AVEC President and CEO Meera Kohler said 10 of the villages have paid or made arrangements to pay since the letter was sent. But the western villages of Chevak, Emmonak, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref, Wales and the Aleutian Island village of Gambell still owe tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.

"The unprecedented increase in the cost of heating fuel and gasoline in recent years coupled with the loss of state funding has left most of the municipal governments that AVEC serves struggling to pay for their electrical services," AVEC Board Chairman Robert Beans wrote in a June 8 letter to the Murkowski administration. "These communities are in serious need of assistance and in jeopardy of losing vital community services."

AVEC already has turned off one account in Chevak, a village of about 900 on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, about 20 miles inland from the Bering Sea.
In February, the utility cut electric service to about 12 housing units in the village for unpaid utilities.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Our Investment in a Creative Economy

We are initiating the first steps of a creative economy, and on this day, we welcome Lady Elaina. She has created beautiful stained glass and textile works of art, and now is working on 2 gardens on our lands.

We are working on developing a creative economy. We believe that this will provide the best ability for competition and opportunities for our people. The market for a creative economy is global, and will be made up of small as well as large challengers. This will also provide opportunities to add value to the raw materials that we have previously shipped off to other countries and states, where the value that we could have realized was lost.

I extend this invitation and challenge to creative people, and welcome your thoughts, ideas, and input.

Respected Anchorage doctor dies at medical conference

Ironic, or coincidental? A well-respected doctor and member of the Alaska State Medical Board died suddenly while at a medical conference in the Lower 48.

According to the medical board, Dr. John Troxel (plastic surgery) died Wednesday night while at a conference with his wife, Dr. Sarah Troxel. It appears he died of some kind of aneurism.

Alaska weather creates ideal conditions for mosquitoes

If you're visiting Alaska for the first time, you may think that we have a lot of bugs. And you would be right. If you've lived here for only a few years, you may be thinking that there are a lot more mosquitoes, gnats, wasps, and other bugs this year compared to previous years. Again, you would be correct.

But the fact is, there really is not an unusual number of flying, biting bugs this year. It's just that we got used to having it good.

The past few years were unusually dry and hot, and the snow cover, which mosquitoes use to survive the winter, was not sufficient to protect them. Because the summers were dry, there were fewer places for them to breed.

This past winter, we had a more normal snow cover, and that was followed by a wetter, cooler spring.

Among the upsides, the salmon, trout, and other fish, as well as some birds, will be fatter and larger than in those previous years. So get some bug dope, a head net, some fishing gear, and a license (of course), and make the best of it.

The other good news is that, so far, Alaska has not had any cases of West Nile Virus, Malaria, or Yellow Fever, all increasingly common mosquito-borne diseases. Also, we haven't had any scorpions, ticks, or snakes for a very long time.

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Research on fossils may offer clues on when tsunami will hit

Geologists studying fossils in Alaska and Oregon have discovered what they believe is a signal that occurred a few years before major coastal earthquakes in the past.

Seismologists have known for some time that really big quakes with the potential to create a killer tsunami hit the Pacific Northwest coast every 500 years on average. But the interval in between can vary from just a few centuries to 1,000 years. The last one struck the area in 1700, so it is not out of the question that another could hit in the near future.

On the other hand, there could be hundreds of tsunami-free years before the next one rolls in.

So what's a city planner to do? Ask the bugs, says a team led by geologists Jere Lipps of the University of California-Berkeley and Andrea Hawkes of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The team studied microscopic fossils known as foraminifera that lived in coastal marshes in Alaska and Oregon. They found that a few years before several large earthquakes in the past, freshwater foraminifera died out and saltwater species suddenly appeared. This happened because the coast dropped slightly in elevation, allowing salt water to infiltrate the marshes at high tide, Lipps said.

Two to five years later, a major earthquake struck. Four of the five quakes the team studied from the past 3,000 years, including the 1964 Alaska earthquake, were followed by a tsunami, the group reports in the current issue of GSA Bulletin produced by the Geological Society of America.

The earthquakes were located in subduction zones where an oceanic tectonic plate is being forced beneath another plate. Sometimes the two plates stick together and quakes occur when they suddenly become unstuck and slip. The elevation drop the team discovered may have happened because plates stuck and the upper plate was bent down as the ocean plate tried to push under it, Lipps said.

"It's a very interesting idea that there would be these land level changes that would precede the earthquake," said Brian Atwater, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist based at Seattle's University of Washington. But Atwater would like to see evidence in more locations to corroborate the finding.

Lipps' team is working to find that evidence in mangrove swamps in Mexico and marshes in New Zealand, and Lipps also hopes to go to southeast Asia where the devastating tsunami struck in December. The hope is that by placing instruments that measure small changes in the dip of the crust known as tiltmeters in subduction zones, scientists might be able to issue a warning a few years in advance that a major earthquake and tsunami is likely.

And there may be reason to believe the Pacific Northwest is due for another wallop like the magnitude 9 that struck the region in 1700 and sent a tsunami racing across the Pacific all the way to Japan where it damaged coastal villages.

A group led by Harvey Kelsey at Humboldt State University studied the record of past tsunamis in lake sediments in Oregon. They found that over the last 4,600 years, tsunamis have tended to come in clusters of three or four every 1,000 years with quiet stretches of around 1,000 years in between. The work also appears in the current GSA Bulletin.

Prior to the 1700 tsunami, there was a period of about 700 years with no giant waves. So that event could have been the start of a new cluster of tsunamis, raising the likelihood of another big wave in the near future.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Navy to Test Shape Shifting Catamaran in Alaska

The U.S. Navy hopes to test a shape-shifting new catamaran, capable of zipping through stormy seas and landing on hostile beaches by putting it to work ferrying commuters from the Mat-Su Borough to Anchorage, Alaska. "It's a ferry version of the Transformers (toys) that you grew up with," said Rear Admiral Jay Cohen, who manages the Navy and Marines' science and technology program and requested this week's Anchorage meetings.

Click image to enlarge

To meet the Navy's needs, the vessel has to be able to dock almost anywhere. It has to be able handle high winds, high tides and thick ice, which Cohen says is the reason it's being tested in Alaska. The design -- initially created by Lockheed Martin -- includes hardened hulls for busting through ice.

"As far as we know, it's the only twin-hulled ice-breaker in the world," said Lew Madden, who graduated from then-Anchorage High School in 1962 and now works for Lockheed Martin as Alaska Ship Systems program manager.

Madden is one of the inventors of the ship's patented concept, which operates in three distinct modes, Madden said. For speed, it rides high above the water like a catamaran. In rough water, the hulls drop down, and it glides along as if resting on a pair of submarines. For shallow-water landings, the center section drops down, with its ramp to the beach like a barge.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Aleutians rocked by series of big quakes

One jolt after another -- the western Aleutians were hit by a series of earthquakes overnight.

The countless quakes started short after midnight. The biggest one, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9, struck at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday. There were reports of items falling off shelves in Adak, about 175 miles from the epicenter.

That was followed by a 5.1 quake, which hit about 9:48 a.m., centered about 40 miles southeast of Amchitka Island.

The series of quakes occurred where the Pacific and North American plates collide. Most were in the range of 4.5 and 5.7.

Eagle crashes into living room of a Ketchikan home

KETCHIKAN, Alaska -- A bald eagle crashed through a window of a Ketchikan home and landed in the living room, scattering broken glass, feathers and a salmon carcass across the floor.

Artists Rendition of Eagle with Salmon

Homeowner Jean Stack heard the crash and initially wondered if someone had thrown a dead fish through the window.

"I stopped in my tracks and thought, 'Oh my gosh," she said.

But then she heard her neighbor, Kurt Haskin, yelling. He saw the whole thing from his deck.

Haskin had been drinking coffee and watching eagles from his deck shortly before 6 a.m. Monday. He said one eagle was on his roof, and three more were in a nearby tree. Another pair occupied a tree across an alley.

"They were fighting, thrashing around; there were leaves and limbs (shaking)," Haskin said. "This was all within 50 feet of me, and I was thinking this was pretty cool."

Then one eagle swooped out of the nearby tree, up past Haskin's head, around the eagle on the roof and back behind the tree, said Haskin.

"I didn't notice it was packing a fish when it swooped over me," he said.

The eagle re-emerged and bore down on Stack's bay window, which is about 15 feet off the ground.

"It just grenaded that window," Haskin said. "The window didn't even slow it down."

But the jolt apparently shook the fish and some feathers free. A moment later, the eagle popped out the hole where the window had been.

"It was only about four or five seconds, then it must have gathered its wits and flew back out of there," Haskin said.

Stack was awake in bed when the eagle hit.

"I heard this tremendous noise," Stack said. "I thought, 'What in the world was that?' It was so loud, and I didn't know where it was."

When she reached the living room she found glass from one end of the room to the other. "There was this huge fish carcass right where my dog usually slept," she said. "It didn't have a head. It was at least two feet long - just the back bone and the tail."

There were feathers about eight feet into the room, she said.

When Haskin began calling and asking whether she was OK, Stack went outside and got the story.

"I said, 'There was an eagle in your living room,'" Haskin said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Stack said she was shocked, but soon recovered. The fish carcass went into the garbage, and a new window was on the way for replacement, she said.

Boyd Porter, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Conservation Division, was surprised by the incident.

"We have a lot of window strikes by hawks and other birds, but it is unusual for larger birds such as eagles," he said.

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Matanuska-Susitna Borough-The Emerging Police State?

Matanuska-Susitna Borough-The Emerging Police State?

The trickling erosion of citizens rights by the Mat-Su Borough 'Government' is about to become a torrent. And the Citizens will be forced to pay for that which we do not need, or want. What we have is classic taxation without representation.

Among the other poorly thought out ideas to oppress the people and use funds that are already in very short supply, the Borough Bureaucrats are planning a Police Force. Even though the Borough is already policed by the Alaska State Troopers, as well as Federal Agencies, and despite the fact that many communities already have their own police force, the Borough wants a Police Force. Why? One can readily assume it is to oppress freedom. There can be no other valid reason, except for something an aspiring politician can add to their resume. The Council, after providing a 2-day notice, intends to hold fake hearings during the summer, when most Alaskans are spending time in the outdoors with their families. Then the will slip the proposal in the October 4th Ballot, no doubt worded in a confusing way, with no price tag. Of course, anyone who would vote against the “Public Safety”, regardless of the cost either in taxes or freedom, must be “one of them”. They will try to convince you that they, the Borough Government, are your only salvation.

Next, the Council will, despite being told soundly by the voters five times that we do not want a Borough wide sales tax, again put it on the October ballot. Why do they even bother to put it on the Ballot? Why not crush the will of the people, and enact a tax? Send out the Borough police to silence any protests or dissenters.

Don't be fooled if the Council (yes, I know what they are called, but that is my chosen term) tells you that this or that tax will be used to pay for the Police. That is illegal, in violation of the Alaska Constitution.

Another idea that has been struck down in the past is the so-called 'severance tax'. Will they ever listen?

To be fair, there are those on the Assembly, and who are employed by the Borough (that is to say, by the Citizens, at least in theory), who really do care. Unfortunately, they are apparently in the minority, and lack the power to preserve our rights and freedoms.

The question then is: “What are we going to do about it?”

Here is the Notice:

The MSB Assembly will hold a special meeting Tuesday, June 14, 2005, at 5:30 p.m., to introduce the sales and severance tax proposals for a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 23.

Here is the agenda:

Here is the legislation that is currently under consideration:



Friday, June 10, 2005

Anchorage, Alaska Will Host National Policy Meeting on Technology

Make your voice heard, see some awesome sights, and maybe catch a 20, 30, or 50 pound King Salmon within walking distance of your hotel!

Washington, DC ---- Municipal officials will discuss recent proposals by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens for a national video franchise agreement, the importance of protecting public rights of way, the ability of cities to provide broadband connections for their residents and businesses, and the upcoming rewrite of the Telecommunications Act at a meeting of the National League of Cities (NLC), June 16-18, in Anchorage at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel.

NLC’s Information Technology and Communications Steering Committee will examine and develop recommendations for national policy on a variety of telecommunications issues. The committee, chaired by Arvada, Colo., Mayor Ken Fellman, will also observe technology used in telemedicine procedures.

“The federal government should use a deliberative process in reviewing communications law,” said Mayor Fellman. “Local franchise authority, local police powers, and public interest obligations deserve protection. The federal government should facilitate local efforts to promote competition, public safety, and appropriate management of public property.”

In addition, NLC’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) Steering Committee will also meet in Anchorage from June 16-18. The EENR Committee is expected to discuss issues related to alternative fuels and ways to improve water quality.

For more information on the agendas for these meetings, contact Sherry Conway Appel, 202-626-3003.

The policy recommendations developed at these meetings will be refined in the fall and presented to the full NLC membership for consideration and adoption in December 2005. These policies form the basis for lobbying and advocacy in Congress and the Administration.

The National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the United States. With a membership of more than 1,600 cities and towns, as well as 49 state associations, NLC serves as a resource and advocate for 18,000 U.S. cities that serve 225 million people across the United States.

And now for the fish: "Craig Harrison put a slam in the Slam'n Salm'n Derby at Ship Creek early Friday morning after catching a pro-class leading lunker.

Harrison, who's been stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base since 1999, snagged a 50.20-pounder at 8:15 a.m., blowing away the previous pro class leader, James Jones, who caught a 38.35-pound fish. Overall, the second heaviest fish is Davis Nashalook's 42-pounder in the senior division."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Say Goodbye to Your Rights, Hello to The Police State

This article has some details about the new, expanded "Patriot Act". "The proposal appears to grant the FBI more power to seek information from banks, hospitals, libraries, and so on through "administrative subpoenas" without prior judicial oversight. The subpoenas are only supposed to be used for terrorism or clandestine intelligence cases.

One other detail: the FBI may designate that the subpoenas are secret and punish disclosure of their existence with up to one year in prison (and five years if the disclosure is deemed to "obstruct an investigation.")"

Might as well wad the Bill of Rights up and try for a three-pointer. What happened?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Our Lands Bear Fruit

On this day we successfully negotiated a lease on one of our gold mines; and in another matter, a contract to sell, among other products, Rhuhbarb. Thus, our treasury will be enriched by at least $400,000 per annum.

We will use this income to expand our property holdings, to develop our agriculture, to advance our technology, and to further our exploration and development of our mineral properties. Opportunities are available, and new ones will arise for those wishing to sieze them.

by The King

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Federal Government Cheats Alaska Out Of More Lands

Here is the Press Release issued by the United States, gloating over their ursurping of Alaskas rights: "To: State Desk

Contact: Jim Stratton of National Parks Conservation Association (Alaska Region), 907-277-6722 ext. 23 or 907-229-9761 (cell), Web:

WASHINGTON, June 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for today's ruling over ownership rights of the submerged lands and tidelands in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

The ruling-in response to a five-year-old case filed by the state of Alaska, which staked claim to all of the tidal lands and submerged marine lands within Glacier Bay-finally puts to rest the state's persistent claims of ownership.

"With today's ruling, the Supreme Court has kept the 'Bay' in Glacier Bay," said NPCA's Alaska Regional Director Jim Stratton. "To think the park could function without the bay is a direct affront not only to its name, but also to the motivations of President Coolidge, who established the park in 1925."

Last year, NPCA filed an amicus brief in the case rebuking the state of Alaska's claim by detailing the impact that increased boat traffic and the reversal of the $24-million buy-out of commercial fishing permits would have on Glacier Bay, if the state were to win its case for ownership. NPCA warned these actions would detrimentally impact the park's marine mammal populations, including its humpback whales.

"Given the world class marine resources alive and well in Glacier Bay, today's ruling by the Supreme Court settles once and for all who's clearly the most appropriate organization to manage and protect these resources into the future-the National Park Service, not the State of Alaska," Stratton said.

Russians Build U.S. Giant Missile Defense Radar in Texas?

Don't tell anybody, but a giant sea-based radar that looks like something out of a science fiction movie looms over the coast of southern Texas where it is nearing completion as the next piece in the controversial U.S. missile defense system.

The final touches are being put on the 280-foot (85-metre)- tall X-band radar system that this summer is expected to ship out on a 20,000-mile (32,000-km) trip from Texas around South America to arrive at what will be its home port in Adak, Alaska, by late December.

"We are well on the way to meeting our goals on schedule," project director Army Col. Mike Smith told reporters on Tuesday. "We expect to be fully operational at year's end."

The $815 million radar, a distant relative of the X-band radar used by police to detect speeding drivers, is designed to detect incoming missiles and discern whether they are decoys.

It is a critical new link in the missile defense system being pushed by the Bush administration to protect the United States from enemy attacks.

The Pentagon is spending about $10 billion a year on the system, which has many critics who say it is too costly and its usefulness and functionality too questionable.

Smith said the radar, built by Raytheon Co. , was based on proven technology, but had not been tested and was not expected to get a full try until it neared Hawaii and a missile range there on its voyage north.

The radar has been in Texas getting fitted to a huge mobile oil platform, built by a Russian firm, that normally would steam out to offshore waters and be used as a base to drill oil and gas wells.

A giant Teflon-like cover, installed last month, envelops the radar and glistens in the Texas sun like a 150-foot (46-metre)-tall white bubble. It is visible for miles (km) on the scrub-covered coast at Ingleside, 15 miles (24 km) across the bay from the seaside city of Corpus Christi.

Smith said the radar would be positioned in the northern Pacific to keep an eye on what is viewed as the greatest missile threat to the United States -- North Korea -- but could go anywhere in the world's oceans under its own power.

With a top speed about 7 mph (11 kph), it would take a while to get there.

Boeing Co. is the prime contractor on the so-called Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

Smith said the X-band radar, also known as the SBX, was originally planned as a land-based system but that a sea-based system became possible when the Bush administration, to the chagrin of a number of other countries, withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Smith touts the flexibility the sea-based system provides and says it is designed to withstand 130-mph (210-km) winds and a "100-year storm."

The radar is by far the largest of its kind, he said, which will allow it to scan a horizon of about 2,500 miles (4,000 km) at a sensitivity so great it could detect the movement of a baseball at the opposite end of the United States.

Information from the radar would go to the missile system nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which could then deploy defensive missiles from sites in Alaska and California.

Tests of intercept missiles have literally been hit-or-miss, with close to half either not getting off the ground or missing the target.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Proclamation adding "King of Alaska"

Proclamation adding "King of Alaska"

By The King, Dennis Imprimis Rex Alaska, Dennis the First, King of Alaska

WHERE we be justly and rightfully King of our realm of Alaska, and ought to have the title, style, and name thereof by right of inheritance, and the non-use thereof in our style hath caused much disobedience, rebellion, dissension and sedition in our said realm, to the great impoverishing and peril of destruction of the same, if we had not for the redress thereof put to our kingly hand, as we have done, as by reason thereof our said realm is now brought to better order, peace, and civility than it hath been many years past;

And inasmuch as our loving subjects of our said realm, both the prelates, nobles, and commons, do think and determine, that the good estate, peace, and tranquility, wherein our said realm now stands, shall the better and longer continue, if we would as we ought of right, accept and take upon us the title and name of King of the same; which to do all our said subjects, of our said realm, by their mutual assents, by authority of parliament holden within the same, have agreed and assented unto, and most instantly desired us, that the said title and name of King of Alaska, together with our said whole realm, should be united and annexed to our imperial crown of our realm of Alaska:

To which their desires and humble requests, for the better conservation of the good peace of our said realm, we have assented, and have caused for that purpose our style to be altered and reformed, as well in the Latin as in the English tongue, as hereafter follows: Dennis Imprimis Rex Alaska, Dennis the First, King of Alaska.

And to the intent that our said subjects should not be ignorant of the alteration of our said style, in form as is aforesaid, we have caused this present proclamation to be made, and by the same will and command all and singular our officers, justices and ministers, and all other our subjects and residents within this our realm of Alaska, and elsewhere within any our dominions, that they shall accept, take, and use our style, in form above written, in like form, as they used and accepted our old style before this alteration. Nevertheless, to the intent that no discord, variance, occasion, trouble, impeachment, or molestation should be had or made to any our justices, officers, ministers, and other our subjects or residents, before they may have convenient knowledge of the change and alteration of our late style; we are therefore pleased and contented, that none of our said justices, officers, ministers, subjects, or other residents within our realm of Alaska, the dominion of all the Islands and Nations, for omitting of our said title and name of King of Alaska in writs, patents, process, or other writings, to be passed under any our seals, or for nonacceptation or misacceptation thereof, or for any offense touching the same, done or committed, or to be done or committed, before the last day of September next coming, shall be vexed, troubled, impeached, or by any wise molested or troubled, but that all writs, patents, process, or other writings that be passed or shall pass under any our seals, before the said last day of April, wherein shall happen our said title and name of King of Alaska to be omitted, shall be taken, construed, accepted, and admitted to be of the same force, strength, quality, and condition in all things, as they were before the said title and name of King of Alaska was annexed to our style. And that the non-acceptation or mis-acceptation of our said title and name of King of Alaska, or any acts or things done, or that shall chance to be done, before the said last day of September, by any our subjects or residents, touching or concerning our said title or name of King of Alaska, shall be construed and expounded any offense or occasion of trouble to any of our said subjects or residents; anything contained in this proclamation, or anything that shall be expressed in the same, or any other thing or things to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

Given at our Palace of Waterstone the sixth day of June, in the First Year of our Reign of Alaska.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Case for Traditional Monarchy

Reprinted with permission by the author:

" In Part I, I explained my belief that since modern constitutional monarchy is inherently evocative of the non-democratic monarchy of the past, royalists should be able to defend, at least theoretically, this older kind of monarchy and compare it favorably to democracy. In making this case I will combine arguments previously advanced by monarchists with my own thoughts and ideas I have learned from my reading. While these concepts are applicable to the entire world, I will focus on Europe since that is the area with whose history I am most familiar.

The idea that kings should reign but not rule is a relatively recent one, especially outside Great Britain. For most of European history, the primary power was held by hereditary sovereigns. This does not mean that most non-constitutional monarchs were 'absolute;' indeed, no hereditary sovereign has ever wielded the kind of totalitarian power associated with 20th-century dictators. Even modern democratic states exert more control over many aspects of their citizens' lives than kings ever did. So first of all, I must make it clear that a defense of traditional monarchy is not a defense of authoritarianism. While the powers of traditional kings may have theoretically been supreme, in practice they were usually rather limited by the aristocracy, the Church, common law, and the need not to excessively antagonize the common people for fear of rebellion.

Early European monarchs were often elected, not of course by all the people but by members of the elite. However, over time the hereditary principle became more and more entrenched until it was practically inseparable from the idea of monarchy. So when I speak of traditional monarchy, I am referring to a system in which the office of head of state and government is hereditary, usually passed on from father to eldest son.

The idea of hereditary power, even if limited by other branches of government and society, tends to bother modern people, including those who are entirely comfortable with constitutional monarchies. 'What if you get a stupid/cruel/insane king?' or some variant is the usual objection. Of course there is no guarantee that hereditary succession will assure competent leadership. But the problem with this objection is that when the alternatives (primarily democracy and dictatorship) are examined objectively, no system of government offers such a guarantee.

There are not many defenders of dictatorship today, which is not surprising since in the 20th century the totalitarian dictators (the most hated of whom, Hitler, was elected) produced bloodbaths which dwarfed the misdeeds of all kings put together. It is democracy that is widely assumed to be such a great improvement over monarchy. I do not agree. To give just one obvious specific example, I am not convinced that the present occupant of the White House offers any proof of the superior judgment and sophistication of elected leaders. Unfortunately, many American presidents have been fairly mediocre; some have been flagrantly corrupt and destructive. Far too many have abused their powers in order to violently meddle in the affairs of other countries, sacrificing thousands of American and foreign lives in the process.

Elected leaders in Europe have for some time now been primarily occupied with plans to erode their nations sovereignty with European unification and their cultural harmony with mass immigration, a dual betrayal which never would have been contemplated in the days when the monarchs were in charge and on which the populations of most countries have never been allowed to vote. This irony, as well as the EU's attempt to crush Austria's Freedom Party (while the continent's Communist parties, unapologetic heirs of history's bloodiest ideology, are uncriticized), suggests that democracy tends to produce leaders who do not actually believe in democracy, defeating its own allegedly noble purposes.

The elected leaders of both Britain and America are currently planning to launch an aggressive war against a country which has never attacked them, disproving the notion that democracies do not initiate war. The case for an invasion of Iraq is no stronger than those for wars launched by kings in the past, and I do not see how the fact that the decisionmakers have been elected will make life any easier for the unfortunate inhabitants of the intended target.

Aside from these contentious issues (which I realize are debatable), it is hard to see how the 20th century's politicians, who twice led Europe into wars which made the dynastic conflicts of old look like skirmishes by comparison, have surpassed the pre-modern hereditary monarchs in skill and wisdom. Life is certainly better in many ways. But I believe most economists would agree that today's higher living standards are the result of technological and medical advances, and may even have occurred in spite (rather than because) of the actions of elected governments. The welfare state�the democrats� major project�appeared to work wonders for Western Europeans for awhile, but now is facing major problems due to falling birth rates and other factors which have brought into question the credibility and popularity of the social democratic philosophy.

Stepping back from current events and into the realm of theory, I believe that certain qualities inherent in monarchy and democracy give the former advantages over the latter. First, a king is trained for the job from birth. He generally has many years to prepare for the task of governing his country, and when he comes to the throne can concentrate entirely on putting this knowledge to use. He will typically have had access to the best minds and most learned constitutional authorities in the country. In contrast, politicians spend the first part of their careers acquiring power and, once in office, must devote a considerable amount of time to keeping it. The constant need to curry favor with special interest groups does not necessarily coincide with what is good for the country. A king can act according to his conscience; a president must always worry about what the polls and commentators say. Too often it is assumed that the current agenda of a majority of politicians is identical to the 'will of the people,' and that a constitutional monarch best serves his or her subjects by automatically assenting to whatever is approved by the government. Unfortunately for liberty, the possibility that it might be desirable for the sovereign to act as a real check on the powers of the government is never even considered.

The fact is that there is not and has never been any such thing as 'the people,' only many individual people with as many different ideas about what is to be done. I cannot think of any proposition on which all people of any country have ever agreed. For a particular idea to gain the support of a majority in no way proves its superiority to the view of the minority. So the very idea that elected governments inherently serve the interests of 'the people' and hereditary governments do not makes no sense, because the interests of 'the people' are never a coherent agenda. What is good for some of a nation's people will be bad for others. Therefore, no government has ever served 'the people' and none ever will, so this allegedly superior aspect of democratic government is meaningless.

The universal worship of democracy in the Western world has brought about a mentality suggesting that winning an election confers some sort of almost magical legitimacy upon a person, giving him a special moral authority that no one who is not elected can possess (hence the outcry over Prince Charles's letters). I believe this belief is unjustified. First of all, winners of elections are never truly the choice of all or even most of the people; they are merely the choice (and often a reluctant, 'lesser-evil' sort of choice) of a majority or plurality of those who happened to show up at the polls that day.

Even assuming that elections genuinely represent the wishes of a majority of a country's population, one should consider whether the typical path to power of a president is really morally superior to that of a king. Politicians, even the relatively honest ones, are obliged to engage in a relentless pursuit of funds and to frequently make promises to voters. Conflicts of interest are inevitable; campaign pledges are likely to prove impossible or contradictory and consequently may be broken-the whole system invites corruption. The successful politician, especially if he is not independently wealthy, must be a smooth talker and a frequent compromiser and deal-maker, willing to sacrifice principles for politics. He must be willing to step on others to get ahead, constantly attacking his rivals. If a politician is not dishonest or mean-spirited at the beginning of his career, he runs the risk of becoming so as he immerses himself in the real world of politics. The hereditary sovereign is free from all of this. The fact that he did not have to do anything good to earn his position also means that he did not have to do anything bad. Some kings may not be admirable anyway. But while monarchy offers at least a chance that a decent and well-meaning person will achieve the top post, democracy virtually insures such a person will not.

Once a law of succession has been firmly established, monarchy provides government with an invaluable stability and also a certain fairness. When the hereditary principle is unchallenged, no one outside the monarch's immediate family, no matter how rich or powerful, can hope to be king. Everyone is in that sense equal under the throne. However, republics create divisiveness and uncertainty by encouraging prominent citizens to aim for the presidency. It is difficult to see how this system is more 'just' than monarchy, since in practice the office of president tends to be restricted to middle-aged males who have the right connections, are skilled at campaigning and fundraising (which does not imply skill at running a country), and have names that are easy to pronounce and remember.

Monarchs have often been criticized for spending large amounts of money on projects which did not appear to benefit the general public, typically constructing opulent palaces for their comfort and lavishly funding the arts for their entertainment. Yet aside from the fact that this royal "extravagance" provided jobs for generations of architects, artisans, musicians, dancers, and artists, what have been its long-term consequences? Some of the most beautiful buildings ever built (many of which are now open to the public, even in surviving monarchies), much of the greatest music ever written, incomparable art treasures, magnificent dance traditions-the unparalleled enrichment of Europe and the world's cultural heritage must rank as one of monarchy's greatest achievements. Even when the arts were not directly linked with royal patronage, it seems to me that by favoring excellence over equality, monarchy tends to foster an atmosphere which is more conducive than republicanism to high artistic achievement.

The superiority of democracy may be unchallenged by most contemporary Westerners, but it is not accepted by all. One persuasive critic is German-American economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe, author of the recent Democracy�The God That Failed. In this book Hoppe presents an economic and political analysis from a libertarian viewpoint of 'monarchy, democracy, and natural order,' concluding that while it would be better not to have a state at all, if one must have a state, monarchy is preferable to democracy, and the historical tendency to replace kings with presidents must be regarded as a negative development. Hoppe makes it clear that he is not a monarchist, but I think his book contains much of value for those of us who are and should be read by everyone interested in monarchism. To adequately summarize this important book here would be far beyond the scope of this essay (see reviews by Jared Taylor and Thomas Woods), but I will highlight some of his points which especially impressed me.

Hoppe explains how one of the disadvantages of democracy is that it persuades the people that their interests and those of the government are identical, making them far more complacent and accepting of government abuses of power. This is particularly applicable to war. When kings waged wars, the aims were always clear and limited, usually involving disputes over inheritance and land. (The Protestant Reformation added a vicious religious dimension to European warfare, but Catholic/Protestant hostilities burned themselves out after about 150 years, and Europe returned to more prosaic excuses for war.) There was no pretense that war would benefit everyone or serve 'humanitarian' interests. There were no standing armies and no conscription; kings were obliged to recruit soldiers and regard their lives as valuable. In contrast, one of the most disastrous effects of the transition from monarchy to democracy has been the development of ideological or 'total' war. The United States under Woodrow Wilson entered World War I not because Germany or Austria threatened the security of the U.S., but to 'make the world safe for democracy.' Ever since then, up to the 'humanitarian' bombing of Yugoslavia and the current war on terrorism and the 'Axis of Evil,' democratic governments have recklessly broadened the aims of and rationalizations for warfare, resulting in conflicts of far greater destruction. Under the influence of the myth that the interests of democratic government are necessarily theirs, Western populations put up little resistance and succumb to war fever. The wars waged by democracies have turned out to 'make the world safe' for nothing but more war.

More central to Hoppe's book is his theory that monarchical and democratic government are comparable to two ways of managing property, analogous respectively to 'private' and 'public' ownership. A hereditary monarch 'owns' the government and intends to pass it on to his heir. He is therefore likely to think in the long term and will want to increase the value of the state he leaves his successors. On the other hand, a democratic leader is a merely a temporary caretaker, who will be more likely to think in terms of getting the most out of the country at present. In Hoppe's words, '[i]n contrast to a king, a president will want to maximize not total government wealth (capital values and current income) but current income (regardless and at the expense of capital values). (24) Therefore, kings are less likely than presidents to misuse the wealth of their country; the hereditary sovereign will want to avoid exploiting his subjects so to reduce his future earnings potential to such an extent that the present value of his estate actually falls. (47)

Hoppe also explains why the class-consciousness and exclusivity of a monarchical society, so often criticized by democrats, are actually an advantage. Since entry into the top levels of government is restricted to the royal family, the clear distinction between classes promotes a healthy skepticism of state power. However, since democratic government is theoretically open to everyone, in a democracy the line between rulers and ruled is deceptively blurred, and people are less inclined to be vigilant.

In spite of all the above advantages, traditional hereditary monarchy as a form of government has fallen out of favor due to wars and ideological developments which perhaps inevitably accompanied modernization. Kingship is accepted as legitimate by Westerners only when it is purely ceremonial in purpose. 'Consequently,' Hoppe concludes, 'a return to the ancient regime must be regarded as impossible. (71) I am reluctantly inclined to agree with him, as I do not see how the necessary monumental change in public opinion could be accomplished. A movement to restrict or abolish democratic government and restore royal power would probably be a waste of time. However, I am convinced that what can and must be defended is the proposition that what today's constitutional monarchs represent is worth celebrating, and that the history of their non-democratic ancestors is nothing to be ashamed of. As long as constitutional monarchies survive, they serve as an elegant tribute to the vanished but valuable heritage of traditional monarchy.

--Theodore Harvey
September 26-28, 2002"

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Arctic Lakes Are Disappearing

Global warming (or maybe Extraterrestrials) appears to be causing lakes to drain and disappear in Arctic regions, a UCLA-headed team of researchers report in the latest issue of Science.

If the pattern persists, it may imperil migratory birds and wreak further havoc on the region's weather, warns Laurence Smith, the article's lead author and an associate professor of geography at UCLA.

"In the Arctic these lakes are the dominant feature on the landscape," he said. "The plant and animal life depend on them as do native fisherman. The loss of these lakes would be an ecological disaster."

Along with researchers from UCLA, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Smith tracked changes in more than 10,000 large lakes by comparing early satellite imagery taken across approximately 200,000 square miles of Siberian wilderness with recent satellite data.

Between 1973 and 1997–98, the total number of lakes larger than 100 acres decreased from 10,882 to 9,712, a decline of 11 percent, the team found. Most lakes did not disappear altogether, but instead shrank to sizes less than 100 acres. The total surface area in the region occupied by lakes shrank by 359 square miles, a decline of 6 percent.

In all, 125 lakes vanished completely and became covered with vegetation, the researchers found in the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Subsequent monitoring has found that none of the lakes refilled, the researchers report in "Disappearing Arctic Lakes" in the scholarly journal's June 3 issue. The researchers, therefore, consider the lakes to be permanently drained.

"What's interesting isn't that we're seeing individual lakes disappear," Smith said. "The process appears to be abrupt and irregular. From what we can tell from space, a lake is either just fine or it's gone."

State backs Adak in study of an Arctic route to Iceland

The Northwest Passage, at last: "Marine transportation in the Arctic Ocean could become a reality in the next few decades as climate change thins Arctic sea ice, allowing icebreaker ships to plow through, scientists say.

Now Adak, a fishing town of about 120 on the far eastern tip of the Aleutian Islands, is set to begin plowing through the political and logistical waters of establishing the route.

This year's state capital budget, which awaits the governor's signature, sends $50,000 to Adak to study the social and economic returns of an Arctic Ocean cargo shuttle to Iceland. The route would compete with the Panama Canal.

"The question that needs to be addressed is what are the economics that would drive an arctic shuttle concept," said Ben Ellis of the Anchorage-based research group Institute of the North.

The group has worked closely with Adak officials to study the shuttle concept. Ellis said it likely would be at least a couple of decades before the ice melts enough to open the Arctic passages, but other countries such as Russia, Canada, Iceland and Greenland already are working toward using the routes once available.

"Experts from Alaska and Iceland will work with Finnish icebreaker technologists, Russian administrators of the Northern Sea Route and other appropriate sources of information in completing the study," the budget proposal states. "The study will determine what further public and private investment might initiate service this decade."

Duh: "Oil companies make money in Alaska"

An Alaskan watchdog group says energy company profits from North Slope crude oil production hit $5.5 billion last year, and there's more where that came from.

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council said total industry profit was just slightly less than $5.5 billion in 2004, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Friday.

The council also found Alaska made $2.8 billion and the federal government about $1.9 billion from crude oil production. Prices for North Slope oil delivered to West Coast refineries averaged $38.84 per barrel, it said.

Rural Alaska nuclear power gets legislative backing

Galena, Alaska officials' idea to bring nuclear power to the residents of their isolated Yukon River community took a step forward when the state Legislature approved $500,000 as part of the capital budget to study the plan.

City manager Marvin Yoder, in San Diego on Friday for the American Nuclear Society's annual meeting, said the state money will be used to conduct a series of 90-day studies to see if it could work.

"We think there are some real general questions to be answered before this can be considered for Alaska," Yoder said. "We are going to hire the right scientific people to answer these questions."

Among the questions Galena and Toshiba Corp., the corporate backer developing the 10-megawatt plant, will attempt to answer are what would happen to the reactor core after its 30-year life, what the safety issues would be and what would be necessary to guard it, Yoder said.

Critics previously have said they were not sure how nuclear reactors would be affected by the extreme climate of Alaska.

Because of Galena's inaccessibility and the necessity to ship diesel fuel by barge, residents pay from 20 cents to $1 per kilowatt hour, while the national average is less than 9 cents. With nuclear power, residents could pay a third of what they now pay to power their homes, Yoder said.

If it's feasible in Galena, nuclear power could be used to lower energy costs throughout rural Alaska, state lawmakers said.

"Nuclear power is something folks might frown on, but it's self- contained," said House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez. "It has a lot of potential for areas" that have high fuel costs.

Harris and Senate President Ben Stevens, R-Anchorage, both supported the studies and pushed to include the $500,000 appropriation in next year's capital budget.

"The amount of money we spend on fuel in rural Alaska is staggering and it gets more and more expensive every year," Stevens said.

Many questions will have to be answered, Stevens said, such as how the plant would be regulated and what its security requirements would be.

Several Democratic lawmakers, when contacted Friday, said they were unfamiliar with the proposal and declined to comment. Galena's representatives, Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, and Rep. Woodie Salmon, D-Beaver, could not be reached Friday.

The capital budget has yet to be transmitted to Gov. Frank Murkowski, but his staff already is reviewing the appropriations in it, said spokeswoman Becky Hultberg. She indicated Murkowski would not be inclined to veto the Galena study.

"Gov. Murkowski believes that affordable energy is critical to ensuring economic development in rural Alaska," she said. "He will be evaluating the Galena appropriation with that in mind."

Yoder and Toshiba representatives are scheduled to hold a panel discussion on the proposal Monday at the American Nuclear Society meeting. He said all the key players will be at the meeting.

By Tuesday, he said, "we'll have a real plan of attack on this."

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Friday, June 03, 2005

King Island village deemed endangered

"Careful with that first step, it's a doozy!" A village clinging to the side of King Island in the Bering Sea and certain federal lands in Alaska were named among America's 11 most endangered historic places Thursday.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation included the King Island village of Ukivok in its annual list because the tiny old homes there are deteriorating and the former residents of the island and their descendants need help maintaining their connections to the place.

King Island is about two miles across and three miles long [Image]. It lies 40 miles west of Cape Douglas on the Seward Peninsula. The island was named in 1778 by Capt. James Cook for a lieutenant, James King.

The village Ukivok is perched on cliffs on the southern coast. The downhill sides of the homes are propped up with long support poles.

Koezuna-Irelan said most people reach the island using open skiffs with two outboards launched from Nome or a fish camp at Cape Woolley, about 40 miles west of Nome. The ride takes about 2 1/2 hours on a calm day. No one has stayed year-round on the island since 1954.

Moe said transportation is a major challenge. The island has no runway.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Greedy Dentists want to Screw Alaskans Mouths

A group of greedy dentists, more concerned about paying for their lavish lifestyles than about the health of Alaskans, want the State to sue the Federal Government on their behalf. They don't even want to spend the money to screw Alaskans out of decent care, and instead expect Alaskans to pay for it. And they can't even be bothered to updte their website in the last 7 years!

This appeared in the Anchorage Daily News on 2 June 2005:

"State and national dental groups have taken a new tack in fighting the use of dental health therapists in rural Alaska. Now they want the state to sue to stop the federal-private program on the basis of state sovereignty.

And most people who've watched this issue thought the issue was healthy teeth. The state should decline to sue.

The logic in the dentists' call derives from the fact that the therapists are certified under federal rules because they're in a federal program. The dentists -- not all dentists, but the dental establishment -- argue the state has a right to police health professionals and need not defer to federal officials.

Their real goal is to stop the program. They say that allowing dental health aide therapists to perform some dental work like drilling, filling and extractions is dangerous and should be reserved to dentists.

But the need for better, closer dental care in Alaska's Bush villages is urgent. And there just aren't enough dentists in the rural hubs to do all the work there is.

That's why federal and private money -- including money from the Rasmuson Foundation -- has bankrolled two years of training in New Zealand for Alaskans to become dental health aide therapists.

The New Zealand program is a long-established one, not some fly-by-night operation. After two years of training, the therapists must do 400 hours of work with a fully qualified dentist before they can begin a limited practice on their own -- and that practice begins only with the dentist's approval.

The dental establishment, including the Alaska Dental Society, [who last updated their website in 1998], argues that this work should be done by dentists, not therapists. They say that using therapists subjects Alaska Natives to second-class dental care.

What matters to Natives and all Alaskans is decent dental care and good teeth. If the therapists can help where dentists don't ordinarily practice, let them.

If any of us go to a doctor's office or medical clinic, and a physician's aide or a nurse can do a competent job of taking care of our needs, we're glad for the help. We don't necessarily need a doctor, but we do need a trained and certified professional who knows what he or she is doing.

If a therapist can do it right -- after intensive training and rigorous work under the supervision of a dentist -- then rural Alaskans will be better off. The dental society argues they can better serve the Bush by recruiting volunteers for temporary work and bringing dentists north on longer, paid contracts. Good. State, federal and Native health officials should cooperate with dental groups to get that done.

But such a program needn't compete with what the therapists are doing. And calling for a suit over state sovereignty is a ploy to kill a program that hasn't had a real test here yet.

The dental society should lend its skills, care and energy to help the therapist program work.

BOTTOM LINE: State should say no to dentists' call to sue. No teeth will be fixed in court."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

President Bush to Liberate Alaska

Shamelessly taken from at least two other sites, but posted here for its satire and humor value: "US president George W. Bush, in a speech to Congress today said, “Now that the situation in Iraq is under control, and after we’ve overthrown the governments of North Korea, Cuba, New Zealand, Iran and Madagascar, I’ll be asking you for a further $50 billion toward my administration’s efforts to help liberate Alaska, and give freedom to the Alaski people."

The Alaskan governor, Frank H. Murkowski has long been a thorn in the side of the federal government by frustrating their plans to grab control of the entire world’s oil reserves by the year 2010 to present to Dick Cheney as a birthday gift."

"George W. Bush said in his address and amid titters from the democratic benches, “Alaska has enough oil to last for another 50 years and I don’t see why such a small population of drunken snow mobile drivers and skiers should grow rich at the expense of the other 250 million Americans here on the mainland”.

“Furthermore”, he said “There are more big cars in California alone than in the entire country of Alaska and we need the oil more than them”. He added, “They’ve got more in the ground than they need and even if they didn’t have any, they could get enough from all the fish they catch down there”.

George W. Bush added in his address, “We believe that there is a conspiracy to play us off against the Russians and who could blame me for reaching that conclusion when Alaska’s prime minister has a name like Murkowski?”

On a more serious note, it would appear that the first steps in this 'liberation' are the closures of bases in Alaska. Maybe it's not so much satire after all. "The recommendation to include Eielson on the BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure Commission] list came from the Air Force as part of an effort to consolidate its A-10 and F-16 aircraft at bases in the Lower 48. Under the plan, Eielson's 18 A-10s would be reassigned to bases in Louisiana and Georgia and 18 F-16s would be transferred to Nevada. The Air National Guard's air tanker and rescue crew would remain at Eielson, which would be partially maintained for future training exercises"

Anchorage company seeks permits to harvest blueberries

I was just hiking through the bogs on my lands, and noticed that it is shaping up to be an excellent berry harvest, not only blueberries but also cloudberries, Rose Hips, and many others, thanks to the wetter spring than in previous years. This could provide additional income to people interested in harvesting blueberries on their property as well as on public lands. I'll post some photos of the heavily-laden wild bog blueberries flowering. Here's a picture of a nice Alaska spring sunset

"An Anchorage company has applied for land use permits on large swaths of state land to commercially harvest wild Alaska blueberries.

Denali Biotechnologies produces a health supplement called AuroraBlue. The product hit markets in December. Maureen McKenzie, chief executive officer and founder of the company, said the product is being marketed as an antidote to a variety of ailments, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

McKenzie said she did not know how many acres of land they applied for to berry pick except that it was "thousands and thousands and thousands of acres."

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources also did not immediately know the number of acres applied for. Kathy Johnson, natural resources specialist for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources public information center, said land use permits do not give the permit holder exclusive rights to pick berries on state land.

McKenzie said the company also has been working on contracts with private, Native and borough land owners around the state to gain permission to harvest berries on their land. She said hundreds of people may be working for the company this summer to gather berries.

McKenzie recently said the company hopes to harvest 150,000 pounds of blueberries this summer. By 2007, they hope to harvest more than a million pounds of berries to meet their customers' demands, she said.

"We don't want to run anybody over. We're just trying to figure out where to get those supplies," she said. "It shouldn't be a problem; it's just a matter of finding them."

She said the company would hire their own crews who would gather on permitted land.

Denali Biotechnologies is recruiting people who are willing to gather for them on other allowable land, such as private and Native land.

The company also will buy berries from people who gathered for their own personal use and want to sell some, she said.

Denali Biotechnologies plans to have buying stations set up around the state to purchase berries, she said.

This year, McKenzie said the company hopes to see ranching cooperatives started around the state, including the Kenai Peninsula, where landowners will transplant wild blueberry bushes to commercially grow the product. The company has had small test plots where they have tested ranching capabilities, she said.

In the future, through the help of a $1.65 million federal grant, they hope to have a facility to dry the berries somewhere in the state so they do not have to ship them Outside for drying.

"If we could get everything in Alaska and have the Made in Alaska symbol on it that would be truly wonderful," McKenzie said."

Alaska editorial: A key to customers asking for wild fish

This editorial appeared in Friday's Anchorage Daily News:

Alaska's Copper River salmon are making their usual spring splash in places where fine fish are sold. It's the most famous example, but not the only one, of how Alaska fishermen can compete against the cheaper, lower-quality farmed fish that has flooded world markets.

Yukon River king salmon have long been prized in Japan for their high fat content. This year, a big chunk of the Yukon River catch will find its way into gourmet markets in the United States.

In Southeast Alaska, fishermen are promoting their products as "Southeast Alaska Rainforest Wild." Salmon carrying that brand will have electronic tracking devices that monitor temperature during shipping to ensure high quality.

Paying attention to quality is definitely a key to success for Alaska salmon fishermen. Gone are the days when fishermen could just toss their catch into an unrefrigerated hold and still expect a big payday for warm, bruised fish. Fresh and fresh-frozen fish, especially fillets, command higher prices. Last year, quality control work and niche marketing efforts clearly paid off. The dockside value of Alaska's salmon catch rose 15 percent.

Selling straight to customers also helps Alaska fishermen boost their income. The number of "catcher-sellers" in Alaska grew 27 percent last year.

A key part of this all-important marketing effort is making sure customers ask for, and get, wild Alaska salmon. That job is a lot easier now. Federal rules that just went into effect last month require retailers to label salmon as farmed or wild and to show the country of origin.

Customers have good reason to ask for Alaska wild. Farmed salmon carry the burden of their industrial, factory-style upbringing. Besides having markedly higher levels of PCBs, farmed fish have to be fed food coloring and antibiotics. By contrast, Alaska salmon fisheries are certified as environmentally sustainable by an internationally recognized oversight agency.

For better or worse, Alaska decided not to jump into the farmed salmon business. Alaska's "ocean ranching" salmon fishermen are fighting a strong tide in the marketplace. The mystique of Alaska is a valuable business asset that offers their best hope of success.

Yukon River King Salmon Run on Its Way

Last year it was considered the new fish on the block; this year Yukon River king salmon is the one of the most commercially prized wild salmon catches of the year. Yukon River king salmon harvesting is expected to commence the second to third week of June, putting the tasty, rich salmon in restaurants and grocers around the middle of June.

Early, unofficial estimates indicate the commercial catch quota could be similar or even exceed last year demonstrating a healthy and sustainable fishery resource is in place. This fresh harvest of wild Yukon River king salmon is only available for about two weeks in June, sold nationwide to restaurants and retailers. The kings arrive from the Bering Sea with a very high oil content of up to 34 percent, rich in heart-healthy Omega3 fatty acids. Conversely, the majority of other Alaskan kings have less than 14 percent oil content.

Tax Cap Petition Signatures Certified

Please be advised that the Canvass Board finished their task of canvassing
the signatures on the proposed tax cap initiative petition.

The report of the Canvass Board is as follows:

Total number of signatures of persons signing petition: 4404

Total number of signatures required to approve petition: 1788

Number of signatures counted: 1797

Number of signatures not counted: 172

Number of signatures questioned: 95

The members of the Canvass Board participating were: Chair, Geraldine
Keeling, Marva Denblecker, and Vivian Smith (with staff assistance from the
Clerk's Office). The Board members began their task on Friday, May 20 and
concluded on Wednesday, May 25. The Board members choose to count nine
registered voters' signatures, in addition to the 1788 registered voters'
signatures required, in order to finish the page of the petition they were
canvassing at the time of concluding the count. I have officially accepted
the initiative petition based upon the findings and report of the Board.
Please note that the question of initiative will be drafted and will go
forward to the voters of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough during the October 4,
2005, regular Borough Election.

If you have any questions related to this process, please feel free to call
my office at 745-9683.


If you have any questions related to the canvassing process

Michelle M. McGehee, CMC
Borough Clerk
Matanuska-Susitna Borough


(NOTE: For those just joining in, there is as yet no bridge across Knik Arm). Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) Board Meeting will be held on June 8, 2005, at 1:00pm at the Multi-Use Sports Complex (Meeting Room 1) in Wasilla, AK. This is an open meeting and the public is invited to attend. For additional information about the project, please visit



Wednesday, June 8, 2005

1:00 p.m.

Multi-Use Sports Complex, Meeting Room 1

Wasilla, Alaska