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December o4, 2006

Front Page Photo by Peaches Wallin

 Danger Island
Front Page Photo by Peaches (Naona) Wallin

Governor Palin

Governor Palin
& Lt. Gov. Parnell

Alaska: It's Governor Palin! - A few minutes before noon on Monday, December 4, Sean Parnell took the oath of office from Judge Niesje Steinkruger to become Alaska's ninth Lieutenant Governor. He was followed by Sarah Palin, who took her oath of office to become Alaska's first female Governor.

Both Parnell and Palin addressed the nearly packed house at the Carlson Center with messages of hope, opportunity, determination and commitment to upholding the principles contained in Alaska's constitution. They were greeted with applause and standing ovations from the optimistic and supportive crowd in Fairbanks.

Honored guests included former Governors Wally Hickel and Bill Sheffield; Alaska Constitutional Convention delegates Jack Coghill, Vic Fischer, Seaborn Buckalew and George Sundborg; Dennis Egan, former Mayor of Juneau and son of Alaska's first Governor; and Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman. Libby Riddles, the first female winner of the Iditarod, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
Monday - December 04, 2006

Top Stories
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National: Developments in Washington could mark turning point in Iraq war By CAROLYN LOCHHEAD - Events in Washington this week - confirmation hearings beginning Tuesday for defense secretary nominee Robert Gates and the release Wednesday of findings by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group - bear all the markings of a turning point in the Iraq war.

But like the war itself, now 3-1/2 years long, the shift is likely to prove a slow and agonizing slide toward an inevitable retreat, rather than the decisive pullout many voters thought they might get last month when they handed Democrats control of Capitol Hill.

As politically weakened as President Bush is, as open to fresh eyes as he said his nomination of Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld indicated, and as much political cover as the Iraq Study Group offers, Bush seems to be digging in.

Twice last week he declared his intention to "accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren."

After a meeting in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Bush dismissed the Iraq Study Group's expected recommendations for a gradual U.S. troop withdrawal with, "This business about a graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever." - More...
Monday - December 04, 2006

National: Lame -duck GOP Congress to leave much undone By MARGARTE TALEV - "Use it or lose it" might seem to be the obvious game plan for the Republicans who are about to give up control of Congress.

But rather than using the final days of their lame-duck session this week to ram through all the legislation they can, Republican leaders are taking a counterintuitive approach: Do a minimum and leave the rest to the Democrats to deal with next year.

That includes political hot potatoes such as domestic terrorism surveillance and an immigration overhaul. It also includes one of Congress' most basic responsibilities: passing the annual appropriations bills, which determine how the federal government spends some $873 billion to cover everything from making nuclear weapons to running the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only two of this year's 11 appropriations bills - those dealing with defense and homeland security - have passed. The rest are two months overdue, comprise about $400 billion and cover ground ranging from national parks and veterans' care to the federal judiciary. - More...
Monday - December 04, 2006


Alaska: Scientists Complete Status Review of Alaska's Cook Inlet Beluga Population - The National Marine Mammal Laboratory, part of NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center, recently completed a status review and extinction risk assessment for the Cook Inlet beluga whale population.


Captive Beluga Whale Spyhopping
Photo by Robyn Angliss, NMML

"We expected the Cook Inlet beluga population to start growing at two to six percent per year when unregulated hunting stopped in 1999," said Dr. Doug DeMaster, Administrator of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. "That hasn't happened. A population viability analysis indicates that the likelihood of this population going extinct within the next 100 years is significant unless factors determining the population's growth and survival are altered."

The status review is one part of a larger effort that began in March 2006 to determine whether the Cook Inlet population should be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. - More...
Monday - December 04, 2006

Alaska: State Settles Consumer Protection Case with Alaska Auto Dealers - Alaska Attorney General David Márquez announced Friday that the Department of Law has filed for court approval of a Consent Judgment to settle a year-long investigation of Lithia auto dealerships in Alaska for violations of Alaska's consumer protection laws. The state and Lithia auto dealerships operating in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Wasilla entered a Consent Judgment that requires Lithia to pay a $500,000 civil penalty to the
state and additional monies in restitution to consumers who were harmed by the illegal conduct.

The investigation focused on two issues. The first was Lithia's alleged practice of charging an "administrative" or "document preparation" fee on all of its vehicle sales. These fees, called "doc prep fees" in the industry, are nothing more than dealer profit, and consumers often confuse this fee with state title, licensing, and registration fees paid to the DMV. Alaska Statute 45.25.440 prohibits Alaska auto dealers from charging doc fees unless they are included in the advertised price of the vehicle. Lithia has agreed to refund this fee, typically $200.00, to all consumers who purchased a vehicle from Lithia on or after October 1, 2002 if the fee was paid in addition to an advertised price. - More...
Monday - December 04, 2006


Basic Rules

letter EUPHEMISMS By David G. Hanger - Saturday
letter Consult With Seniors... We Still Have A Brain By Joan Hurliman - Saturday
letter "Era of civility off to rude start" By Jim Terp - Saturday
letter Boorish behavior? By Teddy Goodson - Saturday
letter Seahawkers Tailgate Party By Marcia Collins - Saturday
letter New city sales tax By Renee Schofield - Wednesday AM
letter Re: Cabals By Jim Dornblaser - Wednesday AM
letter RE: Bridges in Alaska are just as important By Rob Glenn - Wednesday AM
letterLetting down the children... By Frances C. Natkong - Wednesday AM
letter Thanks to all By Joan "Trixie" Hurliman - Tuesday AM
letter Rural Residents Soaked Again By James Anderson - Tuesday AM
letter Bridges in Alaska are just as important as elsewhere By Ed Brown - Tuesday AM
letter Bridge!! By Forrest Mackie - Tuesday AM
letterFederal Budget and Pay for Performance By Alan Lidstone - Tuesday AM
letter RE: It may not be to 'nowhere'... By Karen Pitcher - Monday PM
letter Giving During the Season of Hope. By Richard Zellmer - Monday PM
letter Re: President Bush Fails to Learn the Lessons of Vietnam By Ken Bylund - Monday PM
letter Build a cheaper bridge, roads By Robert McRoberts - Monday PM
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter

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SitNews Archives
Nov. - Dec. 2006
Click on the date to read the stories published on that day.
      01 02 03 04
05 06 07 08 09 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 01 02

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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Lessons Learned - We learn the most from our parents. We learn second most from our school teachers.

But often there are other people in our community who teach us things that are very important.

I was reminded of that when I heard that Carl Hobbs died a few days ago.

Mr. Hobbs was one of my early sports coaches and although I didn't turn out to be the great basketball player that I always wanted to be, that wasn't Mr. Hobbs' fault. You need great marble to sculpt a Michelangelo and I was made of much softer stuff.

But more than anyone else, Mr. Hobbs taught me how to win, and how to lose.

He also taught me that you could squeeze nine 10 year old boys into a single Volkswagen Bug, but as usual, I digress.

Mr. Hobbs coached the Methodist team in the Ketchikan Church League for many years.

If you think dealing with your own kids is "interesting" then try dealing with a dozen or so "other peoples kids." Imagine trying to keep their attention focused on the task at hand. Imagine trying to get them to do something as complicated as playing basketball. It's not an easy job. - More...
Saturday - December 02, 2006

Thomas P.M. Barnett: Iraqi stability can be found in Tehran, not Jerusalem - Washington waits breathlessly for the report of the Iraq Study Group co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. Meanwhile, the Bush administration sets in motion a diplomatic strategy that would, if left in place, most certainly pre-empt the group's most anticipated recommendation: direct talks with Iran and Syria.

Why is the White House effectively sabotaging the study group's plans to initiate a regional security dialogue that includes these two "axis of evil" regimes when all reports indicate they actively fuel the violence in neighboring Iraq? Granted, Iran and Syria can hardly deliver stability in Baghdad, no matter what we offer them, but does anyone doubt they can thwart our own efforts to do the same?

The post-election dismissal of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested Bush-the-Younger was giving into the GOP establishment's push to place Bush-the-Elder's Mr. Fix-It in charge of our Iraq policy. But apparently this isn't the case. Instead, we're watching former Secretary of State James Baker once again squaring off against former secretary of Defense - and now Vice President - Dick Cheney. - More...
Saturday - December 02, 2006

Newsmaker Interviews

Bill Steigerwald: The Beast on the East River - These days nobody but rock stars, actors and grade school kids still seem to love, trust or have much confidence in the United Nations. And Nathan Tabor, a conservative columnist, political activist and founder of the Web site, can tell you more than a few good reasons why. The title of his new book, "The Beast on the East River: The U.N. Threat to America's Sovereignty and Security," gives away his major theme. I talked to him by telephone on Tuesday from his home near Winston-Salem, N.C.:

Q: First we should get the nice stuff out of the way: What's the best thing the United Nations does for the United States and the world?
A: Very little. But of course the plans to eradicate world poverty, world hunger, stopping the spread of AIDS and stopping the genocide that's taking place in Third-World countries are all good objectives to have in place.

Q: Are any of these lofty goals being met?
A: In my opinion, no, because you have the oil-for-food scandal. You have reports of molestation and rape in Congo, Somalia and other places. And on the world peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, they are begging and pleading with the United Nations to come in and help and basically getting nowhere.

Q: Everyone is supposed to love the U.N. We're still taught that it's a wonderful global association of governments that's designed to bring the benefits of international law, international security, economic development and social equality to the whole world. Does it really?
A: In 1945, the U.N. was ratified as this world organization to help protect the sovereignty of nations, but at the same time be able to bring people to the table to discuss the issues. But, over the last 30 years, it has turned into an organization that wants full taxing authority, wants full court authority and wants full military authority. They've gone from protecting the sovereignty of nations to wanting to undermine, erode and basically take over. - More...
Saturday - December 02, 2006

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