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Annual PFD debate is similar to a food fight

I can be sentimental. Not often, but I’m working on it. I just need to figure out how to increase my sentimentality without decreasing my cynicism. Nostalgia is my favorite form of sentimentality. I enjoy recalling the more pleasant times before s...

 

Dreams are memorable but also forgettable

It seems as I get older, the more I have dreams. Not of being a baseball player, writing an award-winning book or mastering the kitchen art of making great crusty bread. No, my dreams are nocturnal. They interrupt my sleep. The good thing is I have...

 

Drug companies decide what our lives are worth

I’ve been reading more about prescription drug prices lately: How they are set; why they are so high, especially in the United States; and what can be done to reduce the costs. It’s not like I take a lot of drugs — just one prescription — but thi...

 

Asking why is a good place to start

Normally, I would use this space to share my opinions with readers. That’s what newspaper columnists do: They give their opinions, the facts behind those views, and hope to educate, enlighten or at least entertain readers. But this week is different....

 

Alaska's gas line dream is out of alignment

Alaska officials who say the stars are aligned for the long-dreamt, long-on-the-odds multibillion-dollar North Slope natural gas project are confusing shiny stars with black holes. Like the black hole the state already has poured close to a billion...

 

Remembering a moment of sharing religions

Jews in Israel and Palestinians in Gaza are embroiled in the deadliest fighting in decades, prompted by an organized assault by Hamas soldiers who murdered innocent people in Israel on Oct. 7, while also taking hostages. Israel has followed the...

 

Congressional Republicans too selfish to govern

One of the many reasons — perhaps the biggest reason — that much of the public has lost confidence and even interest in Congress is that a shrinking number of the 535 House and Senate members bother to do their job anymore. They are too busy pos...

 

Reverse deductibles may be the answer

Most everyone is familiar with how insurance deductibles work: You cover the first dollars out of pocket and then, when the expenses reach the threshold under your policy, the insurance kicks in and pays the bills. The thresholds vary by policy and...

 

Smartphone users need Rules of the Road

Some people walk about and enjoy the scenery, the sights and sounds of the world around them, focusing on what makes them feel happy. Good for them. As much as I try to do the same, when I walk around I can’t help but notice people doing dumb t...

 

Elected officials need to quit playacting

Close to 50 years ago, I was on the union contract negotiating team at the Chicago newspaper where I worked. The negotiating sessions with management were contentious, even nasty at times. I recall we wanted a new three-year contract, with raises at...

 

Hallucinations are not good for AI or Alaska

When I was much younger, hallucinations were an affliction of college students who figured drug-assisted education was the answer to life — or at least worth a try. Not me (honest). I found it more entertaining to stay sober and watch everyone e...

 

State money for school repairs a real test

Wrangell’s school buildings need a lot of expensive work, which is no surprise for 40- and 50-year-old structures with a lot of wood. Fixing everything will cost millions, and the school district and borough are hoping for state money to s...

 

Governor should help get the work done

Employers everywhere are finding it hard to recruit and retain employees. But it sure seems that the state of Alaska, under the disengaged leadership of Gov. Mike Dunleavy, is sinking to new lows of high vacancies. The empty desks and undone work...

 

Misleading claims should be canned

Maybe we’ve developed immunity to misleading claims. Just like any other widely prevalent virus, we build up antibodies to fight off new infections. The claims cause nothing more than a mild headache, if that. Like contagious viruses, misleading a...

 

Supply and demand matters greatly to Alaska

Oil and water don’t mix. We learned that in high school. And we learned it again when water got into a heating fuel line. In Alaska, oil and salmon don’t mix either, unless the oil is brushed on the grill before cooking a fillet. However, oil and...

 

I'll change, just don't rush me

Most changes are forced upon us as the world evolves, and there is little anyone can do about it. Though I want to be the exception to the rule, I grudgingly acknowledge I am not. I resist as much as I can and hold on to small victories, but I am...

 

About time the pipeline dream ran out of gas

Elected officials who say the proposed Alaska North Slope natural gas project is closer than ever to putting steel pipe in the ground and money in the pockets of construction workers should take a break from their political grandstanding and pay...

 

Time to stop being afraid for no good reason

Like many kids, I grew up afraid of lots of things. Maybe I had a longer list than many, but I’m sure they all made sense at the time: Dentists, needles, bees, snakes, putting my head underwater, roller coasters, heights, fastballs thrown anywhere n...

 

Change could make it more permanent

The Alaska Permanent Fund has prospered for almost half a century, growing ever more important for the state’s future. What started as a source of pride and prudence — showing the naysayers going back to statehood that Alaska can manage its mon...

 

Hiding behind a church is no way to run a campaign

Opponents of ranked-choice voting in Alaska want to put an initiative on the ballot so that voters can overturn the law in the 2024 election. To do that, they need to collect signatures from about 26,000 registered voters to win a spot on the...

 

Getting old would be easier, if I could sleep

There are many joys of aging, such as discounts at stores and services, using it as a convenient excuse for being forgetful, and smiling that few thieves would know how to drive my stick shift VW Beetle. I can also stop obsessing about everything I...

 

The Sentinel will pay you to know the news

Actually, more than just knowing the news, you need to know more of the news than your neighbors. And if you do, you can win. But this isn’t about gossip. It’s about the news that affects your community, news that tells you what your elected off...

 

A good outcome, and a good lesson, too

All I did was supply a pen and a writing tablet. Other than that, I was useless. Everyone else did the real work that made a difference. A woman two rows ahead of me suffered a seizure on an Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage last Saturday evening....

 

Their defense is as offensive as the crime

The reactions by Alaska’s top elected leaders to former President Donald Trump’s indictment last week say a lot about what they think of the public. Two out of the three — our governor and junior U.S. senator — must think the public is politic...

 

Governor needs to think before he hires

People are growing increasingly cynical about government: How money is spent, how hiring decisions are made, and how it seems there are few consequences for actions that hurt the public. Yet too many elected leaders continue making bad decisions...

 

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