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SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

September 14, 2005

'Friendly Reindeer'
Front Page Photo by Lisa Thompson

National: Judge declares 'under God' unconstitutional By SUZANNE HEREL - Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that the pledge's reference to "under God" violated school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

The suit is the second by Sacramento, Calif., atheist Michael Newdow, who has been trying for five years to remove the pledge from public classrooms.

The Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a party to the case, immediately announced that it would appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

National: Conservatives question spending on Katrina relief By EDWARD EPSTEIN - The Republican-led Congress and President Bush have responded so far to Hurricane Katrina by throwing open the taxpayers' checkbook, a course of action that is stirring a debate among the capital's conservatives over whether their small-government philosophy is being pushed aside.

Congress has already appropriated $62.3 billion for Katrina's aftermath. Officials say the federal tab could easily exceed $200 billion.

Congress has also turned away from conservative orthodoxy, at least temporarily, by postponing plans for more tax cuts and reductions to the Medicaid program, which covers the poorest Americans.

To some conservatives, supporters of the Republican-dominated Congress and of the Bush administration, this slate of actions raises a host of questions: What is the federal government's proper role in relief and recovery from a natural disaster in such areas as educating the children of evacuees and providing medical coverage for people who've lost their homes and jobs? How should storm relief be paid for? How should shattered Gulf Coast communities like New Orleans or Gulfport, Miss., be rebuilt? - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

National: Roberts rebuffs efforts to extract specific opinions By MARGARET TALEV - In a third day of Senate confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts put his foot down as Democrats pressed him for his views on hot-button issues, saying his personal beliefs will not shape his rulings if he is confirmed as chief justice, and that discussing his ideology would amount to a "bargaining process" that would undermine the independence of the judiciary.

"Judges don't think of themselves along an ideological spectrum," the federal appeals judge and prospective chief justice, who has worked for two past Republican presidents and is being supported by conservative leaders, also said. "I don't." - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

Elkins attends STVFD's membership meeting

PhotosKetchikan: Elkins attends STVFD's membership meeting - Representative Jim Elkins recently attended the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department's regular membership meeting and spoke briefly about a Fire Ranger Project and a Fire Station Remodel/Expansion project.

These projects were among requests submitted by the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department. Elkins provided insight to the group concerning the process of applying for grants and other ways to offset the costs associated with these projects.

Elkins attended the regular membership meeting by invitation from the department to meet the members and to join in the evening's festivities. According to South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott R. Davis, nearly all of the members were in attendance as well as Mrs. Elkins and Ketchikan Borough Manager Roy Eckert. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005



letter Commercial Industrial Activity In Bear Valley By Rick Grams - Wednesday pm
letter It is Better to be Prepared by Gabrielle LeDoux - Wednesday pm
letter Drop outs By Bob Allen - Wednesday pm
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Political Cartoons

Big Oil
Vince O'Farrell, The Illawarra Mercury, Australia
Distributed exclusively to subscribers by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

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Alaska: Governor Delivers Gasline Contract Terms to Producers; Response expected next week for contract that upholds six principles - In a Wednesday speech to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced that he has delivered to the North Slope producers a contract term sheet for a natural gas pipeline agreement and that he has requested a response by next week.

"My commitment is to protect Alaska," said the governor. "I am firm in my belief that we must develop a gasline, but not at any price. I believe this contract proposal is good for Alaska, good for the nation and good for the producers. If they do not agree with my assessment, then I have an obligation to pursue other opportunities for marketing our gas." - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

Alaska: Volcanic overflow ruins salmon return on Alaska river By DOUG O'HARRA - Fly-fishing guide Jon Kent first wondered what had gone wrong with King Salmon River on the Alaska Peninsula when no lunkers showed up in June.

"We've had slow runs before," said Kent, who's worked the Bristol Bay stream for 21 seasons and runs Painter Creek Lodge with his wife, Patty. "Anybody who has ever fished wild salmon knows that sometimes they're late."

But no salmon returned in July either, at least not on the river's upper section, which drains the flank of the icy Mount Chiginagak volcano and part of a national wildlife refuge about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

Columns - Commentary

Martin Schram: Please don't pass the pork - New Orleans fell victim to a perfect storm of official failures. But senators and representatives of both parties have rushed to blame blithering incompetents of the executive branch, hoping we won't remember that they just spent the summer like diners at a boardinghouse, making one request most of all: Please pass the pork.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress larded as much as $24 billion of federal tax money into a record 6,371 pet pork projects that members of both parties inserted into the huge transportation bill, which was signed into law by President Bush. The money Congress spent on nonessential pork projects this year - as well as in years past - has far exceeded the spending that could have saved New Orleans by fortifying its levees against a powerful Category 4 hurricane such as Katrina.

Please Pass the Pork: Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and his state's sole representative in the House, pushed almost $1 billion into home-state projects. Among them was a humongous, nonessential, one-mile-long, 200-foot-high bridge from Ketchikan (population 8,000) to an island where only 50 people live. The island does have a small airport. It would be far cheaper to buy every resident a private jet. As the congressman explained last year: "This is the time to take advantage of the position I'm in." - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

Jay Ambrose: Blaming Bush -- for everything - Los Angeles lost its electrical power the other day, and within minutes Jesse Jackson said President Bush's racism was at fault. Maureen Dowd got off some cutesy one-liners about limited government limiting civilization. Michael Moore likewise worried that starving the government had enfeebled it. And, Democrats called for an investigation.

Yes, this particular blame barrage came to me in a dream, but although it's not real, it's hard to imagine Jackson missing any opportunity to call an official a racist - that being his role in life, his profession, his calling. Still, people of normal sensibilities might be surprised that he said racism kept the federal government from coming to the rescue as quickly as it should have in New Orleans. After all, he had no evidence. But little things like evidence - or the fact that some well-off whites were among the hurricane's victims - have never stopped him. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2005

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