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May 17, 2006

Front Page Photo by Chris Wilhelm

Troller Velvet
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National: U.S. opens assault on wiretap suit By BOB EGELKO - The Bush administration has launched a multi-pronged attack on a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of collaborating with the U.S. government in illegal electronic surveillance, arguing that customers can't prove their phones were tapped or that the company or the government broke the law - and that, in any event, the entire case endangers national security.

Those assertions in a move for dismissal were based on arguments and evidence that the government submitted to a federal judge under seal, keeping them secret from the public and from the privacy-rights group that filed the suit on behalf of AT&T customers.

The sealed documents and a heavily edited public version were submitted in federal court in San Francisco early Saturday along with declarations from John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, and Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency. Both officials attest to the need for secrecy as a reason to keep the lawsuit, filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, from going forward. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

National: Senate rejects 'enforcement-only' immigration bill By MICHAEL DOYLE and MARGARET TALEV - The Senate showed its cards on immigration Tuesday, aligning itself with President Bush's Monday night call for comprehensive reform that goes beyond simple border security.

In the first, symbolically significant vote since resuming the immigration debate, conservatives and a handful of populist Democrats failed by a 40-55 margin to postpone guest-worker and legalization proposals. The result foreshadows Senate approval of a complete immigration package next week, and thereby sets up a certain run-in with the House.

"It was a huge test vote; I was nervous as a cat," acknowledged Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. "I thought that was the toughest vote for most people; I think (our support) will grow from here." - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

National: How Bush sidesteps intent of Congress By BOB EGELKO President Bush signed a military spending bill in December that included a hard-fought amendment banning the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of foreign prisoners. Then he put a statement in the Federal Register asserting his right to ignore the ban when necessary, in his judgment, to protect Americans from terrorism.

In March, Bush signed a renewal of search and surveillance provisions of the USA Patriot Act and said at a public ceremony that civil liberties would be protected by a series of new amendments. Then he quietly inserted another statement in the Federal Register that virtually nullified one of those amendments, a requirement that the administration report to Congress on the FBI's use of its powers under the Patriot Act to seize library, bookstore and business records. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

Health - Fitness: A plague of worry over medical-device recalls By JANET MOORE - Webster's defines a recall as asking "purchasers to return an imperfect or dangerous product so that a manufacturing defect can be corrected."

It seems simple enough, but this two-syllable word packs a powerful punch - especially when attached to a medical device, such as a pacemaker or a defibrillator, that is surgically implanted. The prospects might seem downright scary to patients who have the recalled device inside their bodies.

Now medical device manufacturers and a group representing doctors who implant pacemakers and defibrillators have advocated eliminating using the word "recall" when advising the public about a product malfunction. Their request comes after a year of pacemaker and defibrillator recalls that shook the industry and spooked patients. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006


Ketchikan: New Ferry Stikine Links Southeast Islands - Alaska's latest ferry route will be inaugurated Thursday, when the new $17 million passenger/vehicle ferry M/V Stikine sails round-trip from Coffman Cove on the northern end of Prince of Wales Island, to Wrangell and S.Mitkof, located 25 miles south of Petersburg by road. The new service is being implemented by the Inter-Island Ferry Authority, a public corporation formed by the municipalities of Petersburg, Wrangell, and the Prince of Wales Island communities of Coffman Cove, Thorne Bay, Klawock and Craig. The IFA is a non-subsidized operation organized under Alaska's Municipal Port Authority Act. It also owns a sister ship to the Stikine, the M/V Prince of Wales, that has provided daily year-round service between Ketchikan and Hollis (on the southeast coast of Prince of Wales Island) since 2002.

Launching ceremony of the Stikine on January 21, 2006 
at Dakota Creek Industries shipyard in Anacortes, Washington.
Photograph by Dave McNary ©

The new ferry service will connect "Alaska's Rainforest Islands", according to IFA general manager Tom Briggs. Prince of Wales is the third largest island in the U.S., after Kodiak Island and the big island of Hawaii, according to Briggs. There are over 1,100 miles of maintained roads, more than in all the other communities in Southeast Alaska combined. Blacktop highways connect the island communities of Hollis, Hydaburg, Craig, Klawock, Thorne Bay and reach to within 23 miles of Coffman Cove. Other islands that will be served by the IFA starting this week are Wrangell and Mitkof. The Coffman Cove - Wrangell - Petersburg service will operate every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18 through September 17, said Briggs. Based on advance bookings, both IFA routes are going to be popular with RVer's. A number of Alaskans and visitors are planning to take advantage of Prince of Wales Island's vast recreational opportunities by taking the Ketchikan-Hollis route, exploring the island, then continuing on a second IFA ferry from Coffman Cove to Wrangell and/or Petersburg, stated Briggs. Connections can be made with Alaska Marine Highway vessels at Ketchikan, Wrangell or Petersburg. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

Ketchikan: The Arts This Week   - The Monthly Grind is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th, 7pm at the Saxman Tribal house. The last show of the season will feature many local bands, as well as other live local talent, dessert and coffee, all for just $5 per adult, and $1 for kids. Buy a ticket, bring a homemade dessert and get a refund.

On Sale Now! Inside Passages Ketchikan's literary publication is on sale now at the Arts Council. Just $7 dollars, stop by or call to reserve your copy today, 225-2211. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006



letter MORE ON THE AQUARIUM OF DEAD FISH By David G. Hanger - Wednesday
letterIsn't It Amazing How... By Jerry Cegelske - Wednesday
letterAn Open Letter on Illegal Immigration By Byron Whitesides - Tuesday
letter Pesticides found in Alaska By Carrie L. James - Monday
letter Republicans need to rely on more than Fear! By Robert Freedland - Sunday
letterPLEASE BE COURTEOUS!!! By Alan R. McGillvray - Saturday
letter Democrats need to call for more than revenge By Lucille Moyer - Saturday
letter A wonderful man By Anita Hales - Friday
letter ALS CAN STRIKE ANYONE By Linda (Teal) Kreider - Friday
letter Some things never go out of style By Chris Elliott - Friday
letter JOIN US SUNDAY MAY 21st - NEW PAINTBALL PARK By Bobbie McCreary - Friday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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May 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Dale McFeatters: Anonymous earmark still with us - The momentum is fast going out of Congress' high-minded commitment to lobbying reform.

One worthwhile reform would be to identify the individual sponsors of earmarks, lawmakers' pet projects that are inserted, often anonymously, in bills without the normal legislative scrutiny.

And earlier this month the House passed a lobbying bill requiring just that, but final passage depends on slow-moving talks with the Senate. Meanwhile, the lawmakers have reverted to their bad old ways. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

John M. Crisp: Another look at Ahmadinejad's letter - It's hard to blame President Bush for not paying much attention to the letter sent to him on May 8 by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. I don't know how the letter sounds in Farsi, but in the awkward English on Ahmadinejad's official presidential Web site (, it makes for tedious reading. Parts of the very long text are disjointed and rambling, and near the end it lapses into a scripture-quoting enthusiasm that's vaguely creepy.

On the other hand, Ahmadinejad asks Bush several interesting questions that could make the president a little uncomfortable, if he took them seriously. For example, paraphrasing, can one be a follower of Jesus Christ and, at the same time, relying on the pretext of non-existent WMDs, occupy another country, kill 100,000 people, and destroy water sources, agriculture and industry, as well as the sanctity of private homes, all at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of innocent young men and women put in harm's way? Good question. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

Preston McDougall: Chemical Eye on Motherly Love - Mothers galore awaited a visit, flowers, a telephone call, or maybe even a public radio commentary from their children this weekend. You should know that she loves you, right down to the molecular level.

For starters, she put a snug little cap on the end of your lagging strand to prevent you from catching your death of oldness too soon. She did this before you were born, before you were even conceived. She did this even before you were a twinkle in your father's eye. Let me explain.

As you probably know, all forms of life that we know about use DNA to encode the instructions for the molecular tool-kits that are responsible for both our innate outward appearance and inward personal chemistry. For humans, DNA comes in pairs. Twinned right-handed helices to be exact. - More...
Wednesday - May 17, 2006

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