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September 08, 2006

Ketchikan As Viewed From Pacific Airways
Front Page Photo by Elizabeth E. Harrison

Alaska: Two want a fresh start on gas line -- GOVERNOR: Palin, Knowles would consider all ideas; Halcro says existing plan is only way. By KYLE HOPKINS - Want to build Alaska a natural gas pipeline? Sidle on up to the bargaining table -- all bids are welcome. - Read this Anchorage Daily News Story...
Friday - September 08, 2006

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National: BP official refuses to testify at pipeline hearing By RICHARD MAUER - The first of at least four congressional hearings into why BP failed to prevent pipeline failures on Alaska's North Slope began dramatically Thursday when Richard Woollam, the company's corrosion chief until 2005, refused to testify, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In a day marked with blistering criticism of BP from Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the British-born Woollam, derided in an internal BP report as "King Richard" for his dictatorial style, refused to answer any questions.

The committee's investigations panel is looking into the failure of BP to monitor and control corrosion on two smaller North Slope transit pipelines that feed the main trans-Alaska pipeline.

One of those lines had a catastrophic leak on March 2, spilling more than 200,000 gallons of oil in the tundra and the ice-locked shore of an unnamed lake. The other line had a smaller leak in August. Unsure of the reliability of either line, BP announced it would shut down all North Slope production Aug. 6, then limited the closure to the field's eastern half.

Over and over, the committee members grilled BP Exploration (Alaska) President Steve Marshall about why BP neglected to conduct the only reliable test of the decay of an entire pipeline, a "smart pig" that travels inside the pipe and records the thickness of the wall along its length.

Marshall replied that the company thought the line wasn't as susceptible to corrosion as others. The last smart pig run on the western line was in 1998 and on the eastern line in 1992.

But was it just an error in judgment, or was something else at work, the committee wanted to know. Was BP shaving costs to increase profits? Were executives trying to beef up their annual bonuses by meeting budgets regardless of the consequences? Committee chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, wondered aloud whether BP was "betting the farm" that the Prudhoe Bay field would run out before the pipeline failed, saving the costs of replacing it.

"Shame, shame, shame," he said. - More...
Friday - September 08, 2006

International: Analysts call new Iraq military a work in progress By JOHN KOOPMAN - The last time an Iraqi Army division was under the control of the Iraqi government, back in 2003, American soldiers were chasing it and trying to kill its soldiers.

But this week the Iraqi government officially took control over one army division and a handful of boats and airplanes belonging to the navy and air force.

The handover "is an important milestone, but we still have a way to go," said Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq.

Military analysts interviewed about the handover agreed on both of those points, but they focused more on the latter.

"A lot of this is just rhetoric," said Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. "It's all part of a process to give the Iraqi forces more visibility, more confidence and, hopefully, give the government more leverage in terms of its ability to influence political compromise."


"The question is, who are the Iraqi troops loyal to and what are their capabilities? And what does this say about internal security?" said Tom Mockaitis, a professor of history at De Paul University whose focus is counterinsurgencies. "At this point, I don't see much more than a symbolic gesture."

Handing over the 8th Iraqi Division means the unit will operate under the command and control of the Defense Ministry and, above it, the prime minister. The other nine divisions remain under the control of U.S. military units in their respective areas of operations. - More...
Friday - September 08, 2006

Alaska: Alaska Department of Law and U.S. Department of Justice Submit Demand Letter to ExxonMobil for $92 Million - Alaska Attorney General David Márquez announced that the State of Alaska, Department of Law and the U.S. Department of Justice submitted a letter to ExxonMobil Corporation demanding payment of $92,240,982 pursuant to the reopener provisions of the October 1991 settlement involving the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In an earlier letter dated May 31, 2006 the two governments presented ExxonMobil with a
Comprehensive Plan for Habitat Restoration Project Pursuant to Reopener for Unknown Injury
("Comprehensive Plan"), estimated to cost this amount, to address certain remaining injuries from the oil spill.

"We believe the Comprehensive Plan satisfies the requirements of the reopener provision and is built upon a foundation and commitment to sound science," said Márquez. - More...
Friday - September 08, 2006

Ketchikan: Ketchikan Selected to Host the 25th Anniversary Colgate Country Showdown in Alaska - This year the Colgate Country Showdown, America's largest country music talent search, is coming to Ketchikan. The event will be held at the VFW on September 23rd. Each year thousands of contestants of all ages take the stage to demonstrate their talent, and in many cases perform their own original music. The Showdown is not a reality series or a show audition; it is a true talent contest. Winners are chosen by music industry professionals using a uniform judging criteria on all levels. Over 400 shows are produced annually at fairs, theme parks, casinos and clubs throughout the United States. Over $300,000 in cash prizes are awarded to contestants, including the Grand Prize of $100,000. If you have musical talent this year's 25th Anniversary Colgate Country Showdown is the place to start.

The Colgate Country Showdown has become a tradition for scores of towns and cities across America. Over 450 local radio stations are chosen to host the Showdowns every year creating a genuine source of community pride as fans eagerly anticipate their annual Colgate Country Showdown. This year Ketchikan's own Gateway Country will have the honor of being Alaska s exclusive hosting station. Built on the concept of wholesome family entertainment, event producers take pride in a yearly event that pays tribute to their hometown talent and each year over 50,000 artists sign up. As a testament to this fact, virtually every major country music entertainer of the past twenty years has participated in the Showdown. They may not have won the Grand Prize, but it was often the first time they experienced the thrill of performing before a live audience. - More...
Friday - September 08, 2006



letter No to White Cliff Project By G. J. Williams - Saturday
letter Pride & Prejudice By Jennifer Brewer - Saturday
letter Stop Schoencliff By John Beck - Saturday
letter Admission to Alaska Tax By Doug Irish - Saturday
letter Retort: Divisions By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter Consolidation By Bill Thomas Sr. - Friday
Goodbye Bowling By Neil Gray - Friday
letterWhere are we going? By Robert McRoberts - Friday
letter Bully Breeds By Kelly Needham - Friday
letterKetchikan Chapter T&H Delegates By Robert A. Sanderson Jr. - Thursday
letter Proposed subdivision will deny public access to Herring Cove By Joan Beraldi - Thursday
letter Those were the days my friend... By Sam Osborne - Wednesday
letter Divisions By Anita Hales - Wednesday
letter Gravina Island Clean-Up By Dave Lieben - Tuesday
letter All bowled out? What a shame. By Brian Gray - Tuesday
letter We enjoyed our visit By Vita Rokaw - Tuesday
letter Courtesy? By Craig Moen - Tuesday
letter Pit Bulls By Michael Moyer - Tuesday
letter Who does Kofi Annan represent? By Mark Neckameyer - Tuesday
letter Gravina bridge response to editorial By Michael Spence - Monday
letter Theft of Our Lands in Ketchikan - The Dark Days By Don Hoff Jr. - Saturday
letter Gravina Island Clean-up Begins By Jerry Cegelske - Saturday
letter It's a wash... By Chris Elliott - Thursday
letter Farewell By Tyrell Rettke - Thursday
letter Protecting our Rights on the Stikine River By Renee Claggett - Thursday
letter White Cliff Center project By Karen Eakes - Thursday
letter Thanks for your support! By Gregory Vickrey - Thursday
letter James's Last Trip to Alaska By Doug Barry - Thursday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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September 2006
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Columns - Commentary

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: Neither Side Deserves To Be Reelected - Sorry, but you don't.

At the start of Congress, right after Bush's reelection, two topics dominated your agenda: Social Security and Immigration Reform. Neither passed.

Congress punted on Social Security after it got scared to death by the reaction of senior citizens to Bush's proposed reforms. Ironically, the group least affected by the changes - the elderly who were exempt from their provisions - was the most opposed. And the people directly impacted - current wage earners - were largely supportive, albeit apathetic. Democrats never got to stop the reforms by waging the gallant filibuster for which they were hoping. The Republicans quietly killed Bush's proposals by an agreement never to talk about them again. - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Clifford D. May - Five years later: It's time to unite and fight - Five years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have not been slaughtered a second time on U.S. soil. That is no small achievement. It has come about not because our enemies have been merciful or because they consider our behavior improved. It has come about because we have begun to understand that we have enemies, that they pose a serious threat, and that we must fight them.

Most Americans did not comprehend that on Sept. 10, 2001. When the Cold War ended with a whimper, we wanted to believe peace would prevail. We shrank the military and encouraged the intelligence community to give up such unsavory practices as running spies, sparking coups and making life dangerous for despots. - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Reg Henry: Fear is an easier sell than sacrifice - I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard people like me (i.e., supposedly unpatriotic ingrates) reminded that "we are at war." I would buy my critics a set of medals from the wars they never went to or a set of history books about wars they don't remember.

What do these guys mean when they say "we are at war"? What they really mean is that they want anyone who expresses doubt about the war in Iraq, in particular, to shut up.

"We are at war" translates into "you can't argue with the commander in chief when we are at war," which, conveniently for him, won't ever end. - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Ann McFeatters: A blurred vision of war - For the rest of our lives, "9/11" will haunt us, evoking a rush of fear, anger and grief. But now the issue is what the impact will be on unborn Americans.

President Bush's determination to tie the war in Iraq more firmly to the war on terror is a calculation born of frustration and stubbornness. In the run up to the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, warning us against getting "stuck on stupid," Bush quoted terrorist Osama bin Laden, who still eludes capture, as saying that the third world war is raging in Iraq.

The implication is that if America "loses" in Iraq, although what a "win" would constitute has never been adequately defined, America will lose a major battle against terrorism, even the "third world war." - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Michael Reagan: A Little Straight Talk Wouldn't Hurt - Listening to the Democrats complain Tuesday about the administration's handling of the nation's security had me thinking. If, as they charge, the president is using it as a political issue, I really hope he is.

I also thought that President Bush needs to stop preaching to the choir - to his rock hard supporters - and begin to speak to all the American people about just what's at stake in the war on terror.

He needs to tell Americans flat out exactly where the Democrats stand on national security. They oppose the wiretaps of al Qaeda terrorists communicating with agents and sympathizers in the U.S.; they are opposed to the tracking of the movement of terrorist funds across the globe, they opposed the Patriot Act - all programs that are designed to protect the American people. - More..
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Jay Ambrose: Conspiracies everywhere - Listen up, America, and listen good. There is a conspiracy going on to boost the Bush administration and undermine large numbers of Internet bloggers and even some university professors by having you believe these people are making ding-a-ling claims about 9/11.

The conspirators - and I am pretty sure I know who you are - have somehow managed to get actors to pose as critics of the Bush administration on Web sites, in press interviews and on TV panel discussions. Instead of saying sensible things about possible mishandling of the terrorist threat, they say there is no terrorist threat. They say the downing of the Twin Towers was an inside job possibly committed by neo-conservatives, perhaps under government direction, and even that it was a cruise missile that hit the Pentagon, not a commercial jetliner. - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

Dale McFeatters: 'War on terror' week - This past week has been "war on terror" week in the nation's capital, with President Bush holding almost daily events highlighting progress in GWOT, the global war on terror now having its own acronym.

It was almost like old-home week. The almost-forgotten Osama bin Laden made a big-time appearance in Bush's speeches, being mentioned 16 times in one and appearing in such heady company in the world of evildoers as Hitler and Lenin.

We tend to forget about bin Laden except when his minions drop off one of his incoherent audiotapes at al-Jazeera and we're reminded that the old boy hasn't given up his dreams of restoring the caliphate in the Mideast with himself presumably as caliph. - More...
Thursday - September 07, 2006

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