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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
January 22, 2007

Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis

Hidden Inlet
Hidden Inlet is about 70 miles south of Ketchikan in the Misty Fjords.
Front Page Photo by Jim Lewis

Top Stories
U.S. News
U.S. Politics


National: In Congress, a more measured approach against U.S. Iraq policy By MARC SANDALOW - Democrats call President Bush a liar, incompetent and even a rogue commander. They warn that the war in Iraq is immoral, dangerously counterproductive and among the worst foreign-policy blunders in history.

Yet as leaders in Congress struggle to find a way to end the war, they remain reluctant to force Bush's hand by cutting off funds, capping troop levels or requiring explicit congressional approval for an escalation of troops.

At least five bills were introduced last week that would either restrict Bush's ability to add troops or set a deadline for their withdrawal. No hearings or votes have been scheduled on the legislation.

For now, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are committed to building support for a nonbinding resolution condemning the White House's latest war plan in hopes that a broad and bipartisan show of opposition will make it politically untenable for Bush to proceed. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

International: China's destruction of satellite in space causes alarm By GEOFFREY YORK - With a dramatic display of its power to destroy a satellite in space, China is warning the world that its military arsenal is modernizing much faster than expected and could challenge the United States for global dominance by the middle of this century.

The successful test of China's anti-satellite technology is a major victory for Beijing's military strategy, which aims to use high-tech weaponry and "asymmetric warfare" to bridge the gap between itself and the United States.

China has not yet confirmed the test, but the reports of the Jan. 11 incident are now widely accepted as accurate. Beijing used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy an aging Chinese weather satellite that was orbiting Earth at an altitude of about 540 miles, according to U.S. intelligence reports.

The satellite was only about a yard in length, so its destruction by a ballistic missile was a highly impressive show of precision targeting.

It was the first successful test of anti-satellite weaponry in more than 20 years, breaking an unofficial moratorium that began in the Cold War. It immediately elevated China to the top ranks of space technology, making it one of only three countries (along with the United States and the former Soviet Union) to prove its ability to shoot down an object in space.

Other countries are watching with concern. The test has fuelled anxieties about a Chinese military buildup that has already shocked the experts with some remarkable breakthroughs. It could trigger a new arms race in space. And it has exposed a key vulnerability in the U.S. military doctrine, with its mounting dependence on satellite communications and satellite spying.

The test has prompted a wave of protests and concerns from the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, Australia and South Korea. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

A female Northern Flicker photographed
in Ketchikan, Alaska January 2007.
Front Page Photo by
Ketchikan photographer Vicki Harsha

Ketchikan - Nationwide: "COUNT FOR THE RECORD" AND HELP THE BIRDS DURING THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT - What mid-winter activity is fun, easy, free, and helps bird conservation? What can parents and teachers do with children that opens their eyes to a whole new world of natural wonders? During February 16-19, 2007, the tenth annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, will give everyone a chance to discover the birds in their neighborhood and "Count for the Record."

People of all ages, and of all levels of experience, are invited to join this event which spans all of the United States and Canada. Participants can take part wherever they are. They simply count the highest number of each species they see during an outing or a sitting, and enter their tally on the Great Backyard Bird Count web site. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the GBBC, and Cornell and Audubon are challenging people everywhere to participate in greater numbers than ever before. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007


National: State of the Union Address Outlines President's Agenda; Bush's address to Congress and the nation scheduled for January 23 - President Bush is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address on the evening of January 23rd to Congress, the nation and a worldwide television and Internet audience.

The U.S. Constitution requires that the president report to Congress "from time to time" on the "State of the Union." This constitutional requirement has evolved into the president's annual State of the Union address, which now serves several purposes. The speech reports on the condition of the United States both domestically and internationally, recommends a legislative agenda for the coming year and gives the president the opportunity to convey personally his vision for the nation.

In his 2006 speech, Bush urged the United States to engage the international community as a means of building prosperity, security, freedom and hope around the world.

The tradition of the State of the Union address dates back to 1790 when George Washington, the first U.S. president, delivered his "Annual Message" to Congress in New York City, then the provisional capital of the United States. His successor, John Adams, followed suit.

But the nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson, felt that such elaborate displays were not suitable for the new democratic republic. He delivered a written message rather than appearing in person. Jefferson's influence was such that for more than a century thereafter presidents delivered written Annual Messages to Congress. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

National: U.S. 2008 Presidential Election Campaigns off to an Early Start By MICHELLE AUSTEIN - The 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign season is off to an extraordinarily early start, according to the head of a leading public opinion polling organization.

Although the election is not until November 4, 2008, many of the expected contenders already have announced their interest in running for the highest office in the United States, said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. Those who have not publicly discussed their intentions likely will have to do so soon to be competitive, he said during a digital video press conference hosted by the State Department Foreign Press Center in New York January 18.

Despite the fact that Election Day is nearly two years away, local forums and debates with presidential candidates will begin as early as February.

Two early events with candidates that likely will receive attention are New Hampshire's April 4 and April 5 debates and South Carolina's April 26 and May 15 debates. In American politics, public debates are commonly held and allow candidates to present their views in response to questions from the media or members of the audience. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

Front Page Photo by Carol Alley

Austin Hays jammin' at the stARTled salmon,
Ketchikan Arts Hatchery, Salmon Landing.
Front Page Photo by Carol Alley

Fish Factor: Alaska will see a reduced take of Pacific halibut By LAINE WELCH - Pacific halibut will make it to market a bit later this year, there will be less of it, and bag limits will cut charter boat catches by half.

U.S. and Canadian halibut managers announced at their annual meeting last Friday that the commercial halibut fishery will begin on March 10th, five days later than last year. They approved a coast-wide catch - meaning for California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska - of 65.1 million pounds, a drop of nearly 4.7 million pounds. Alaska always gets the lion's share of the catch, but it will also see a reduced take to 52.36 million pounds, down about three million pounds from the 2006 limit.

Some highlights: Fishermen in Southeast Alaska got a bit of a break with a catch of 8.5 million pounds. That's still a drop of two million pounds, but not the 30 percent reduction that had been recommended earlier. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007


Basic Rules

letter Read My Lips By Glen Thompson - Monday
letter More Bureaucracy, Less Learning at UAS By Robert D. Warner - Monday
letter Ketchikan Property Tax Assessments By Hunter Davis - Monday
letter Property Tax Hike & the Cruise Ship Tax By Dan McQueen - Monday
letter Thank you By Colette Milam - Monday
letter Proposed container fee from State of Washington By Judith Green - Monday
letter A day to remember JFK By Ken Levy - Monday
letter Ketchikan assessment headaches By John Harrington - Friday PM
letter TAX GLUTTONS By Ken Bylund - Friday
letter Let's walk the talk when it comes to the kids in Ketchikan. By Patti Fay Hickox - Friday
letterRacism Report Card By Carol Christoffel - Wednesday PM
letter Proposed container fee legislation will increase cost of groceries By Bill Tatsuda - Wednesday PM
letter At what price glory? By Valerie Cooper - Wednesday PM
letter The Internet Economy By Rick Grams - Monday PM
letter Tribal Council Vacant Seat By David Jensen - Saturday PM
letter Proposed addition of a paid firefighter/EMT II position By Kevin C. Murphy - Saturday PM
letter Simple Request By Joe Johnson - Saturday PM
letter The tides are changing By Myrna Gardner - Saturday PM
letterNTVFD...Show us the numbers! By Ed Fry - Wednesday PM
letter Tribal Members, It's Time for Change By Albert White - Tuesday PM
letter ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS By Peter Ellis - Tuesday PM
letter NTFD -Tax Cap - Consolidation By Cheryl Henley - Tuesday PM
letter Micro-managing the war By Anita Hales - Tuesday PM
letter Shut Down Of Airport Shuttle By Ken Levy - Tuesday PM
letter NTVFD/I was wrong By Mary Henrikson - Tuesday PM
letter Litter on Ketchikan's roadways By Kathie Morris - Tuesday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dan K. Thomasson: Here's an ethics solution: Better pay - The task of cleaning up Congress probably would be easier if lawmakers were paid what the job is supposed to be worth, eliminating at least some of the temptation that makes them so vulnerable to influence peddling.

With both the House and Senate having passed versions of ethics reforms and with differences to be worked out by a conference committee, the intention to curtail in some small degree the activity of lobbyists seems genuine. The stimulus, of course, was the scandal precipitated by the so-called K Street crowd led by the notorious Jack Abramoff, the latest corrupter of congressional morals. In truth Abramoff was more a facilitator than a debaucher, merely offering his wide circle of acquaintances an opportunity several found too enticing to resist.

The truth is that while congressional service left the world of part-time employment many decades ago, the rate paid lawmakers for full time did not. Because of the political stigma of raising one's own pay, the annual salaries have been kept at a level reserved in private industry for those several notches below the top of the stingiest company. The result has had a negative impact throughout government where employees' incomes are capped at what lawmakers earn. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

Dale McFeatters: Presidential race more like stampede - The moment every American with even a casual interest in politics knew was coming has come: Hillary Rodham Clinton, current U.S. senator and former first lady, is running for president.

Technically, she announced formation of an exploratory committee, but the video on her Web site, "Hillary for President," was titled "I'm In." and, she says, "I'm in to win." In the video she was warm, low-key and conversational, and it was well received by the political pros.

What was interesting was the muted reaction from the Republican right. When she left the White House and moved to New York, the right jeered and taunted her and urged her to run for president because they would ... they would ... well, they never said what they would do except it was going to be bad. She was a polarizing harridan against whom the Republicans would rally, that's what. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007  

John M. Crisp: Options on the table other than a troop surge - One of the prominent arguments that President Bush has made in favor of a 21,500-troop surge in Iraq is the assertion that no one else has a better plan. Challenging skeptics, he says, "To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible." And since you don't have any better ideas, he says, give the surge a chance. It might work.

But this position has the defensive uncertainty of a playground taunt: "You got a better idea?" It pictures Bush's opponents as naysayers with nothing to add to the debate. But the Bush administration has maneuvered the country into a complicated and dangerous dilemma, and the absence of other ready solutions is in itself no justification for raising the stakes by 21,500 men and women in pursuit of a policy that has failed.

Besides, the idea that a surge of troops is the only alternative is mistaken; other options already have been offered and some of them have as much feasibility as the one the administration seems determined to pursue. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

Editorial: Protecting our ports - The decision by Dubai Ports World to give up its planned takeover of several U.S. port operations is comforting news. First announced last February, the deal had been vehemently condemned by U.S. politicians as a security risk. Had it won approval, a half-dozen Atlantic and Gulf Coast container terminals would have been under the control of a government-owned Middle Eastern company.

It did not matter that Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, had historically served as a U.S. ally, or that security in American ports would continue to be handled the same way. The fact that some of the 9/11 hijackers had moved through the UAE, and used its banking system, made too many Americans uneasy.

Now DP World has announced that it will sell its U.S. operations to U.S.-based AIG Global Investment Group. Along with container ports in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Tampa and Miami, AIG will acquire a New York passenger terminal, as well as stevedoring operations at 16 Eastern and Gulf locations. - More...
Monday - January 22, 2007

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