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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 08, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS

Connell Lake Trail
On the hike with the photographer was man's best friend, Missy.
Front Page Feature Photo By DALE CURTIS ©2018

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Alaska: Ninth Circuit Upholds Majority of Alaska’s Campaign Finance Limits for Candidates By MARY KAUFFMAN - The Ninth Circuit federal court of appeals issued a decision last week upholding three Alaska campaign finance laws limiting political contributions that were challenged in a 2015 lawsuit, concluding that these limits are narrowly tailored to advance the important state interest in preventing quid pro quo corruption. The Ninth Circuit struck down the fourth limit also challenged in the suit, which was an aggregate cap on nonresident contributions to Alaska candidates.

In its decision, the Ninth Circuit upholds Alaska's campaign contribution limits except for a limit on the amount candidates can receive from nonresidents. Plaintiffs alleged that Alaska law regulating campaign contributions violated the First Amendment. The plaintiffs, three individuals (David Thompson, Aaron Downing, Jim Crawford) and a subdivision of the Alaska Republican Party, challenged: (1) the $500 annual limit on an individual contribution to a political candidate, (2) the $500 limit on an individual contribution to a non- political party group, (3) annual limits on what a political party—including its subdivisions—may contribute to a candidate, and (4) the annual aggregate limit on contributions a candidate may accept from nonresidents of Alaska.

In its 11/27/18 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court upheld three contribution limits set by Alaska law:

  • the $500 annual limit on individual contributions to political candidates,
  • the $500 limit on individual contributions to non-party political groups that contribute to candidates, and
  • the annual limits on contributions to candidates by political parties and their subdivisions.

The Ninth Circuit held that the State of Alaska successfully demonstrated that corruption from campaign contributions is a real risk and that Alaska’s contribution limits are not so low that candidates cannot raise sufficient funds to wage effective campaigns. 

However, the Ninth Circuit was not persuaded that the State’s interest in preventing corruption justified its annual aggregate limit on the total contributions that a candidate may accept from nonresidents of Alaska. Instead, the court struck down that limit as unconstitutional, relying on the U.S. Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. FEC. - More....
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

Alaska: Alaska Consumer Protection Unit Warns Consumers About Unregulated CBD Oil - The Alaska Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit is warning the public about marketing of a variety of industrial hemp-derived products that are currently not authorized for sale in Alaska.

Products containing Cannabadiol (CBD) oil and extracts are being widely sold throughout Alaska but are unregulated and untested in the state at this time. Due to their lack of traceability, many of these products are of unknown origin. CBD is a derivative of the industrial hemp plant. CBD oil may also be derived from marijuana, resulting in oil which exceeds the legal limit of .3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) threshold expected in an industrial hemp derived product. 

On April 13, 2018, a new law in Alaska authorized the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to create an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program to research the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of creating the program, which will include the testing of products, but has not yet registered any grower, processor, or marketer of industrial hemp in Alaska.

The CBD oil and products are widely available at many retail locations statewide, and CBD oil is even incorporated into products such as lotions, pet treats and consumables. These products have not been tested for purity or THC content. Claims relating to the benefits or effects of the CBD oil and products in providing a variety of health or wellness benefits may not have been evaluated by any state or federal agency, including the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). This is especially true with any foreign products imported into the State. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By KEITH JEWETT

Humpback Bubble Feeding
Photographed in the area of the docks in downtown Kethikan.
Front Page Feature Photo By KEITH JEWETT ©2018


Property crime: Leads result in 2 arrests - The Alaska State Troopers and Ketchikan Police Department have been working closely together to investigate the recent string of property crimes in the Ketchikan area. 

According to the Alaska State Troopers' Dispatch, on Wednesday a significant lead was developed in a number of the open investigations and, as a result, a suspect was identified.

Subsequent investigation by both agencies led to the arrest of Cody Peters, 32 of Ketchikan.  Peters was taken into custody on Dec. 5th and transported to the Ketchikan Correctional Center where he was lodged pending arraignment on the following felony level offenses: Burglary in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree, Theft in the Second Degree x 3, and Misconduct Involving Weapons in the Third Degree.  He was additionally charged with the misdemeanor offense of Criminal Mischief in the Fifth Degree . 

Stemming from this investigation, a search warrant was obtained and served on a condo in Marine View Condominiums.  A second suspect has been identified and taken into custody for an unrelated warrant. Numerous power tools and hand tools were seized per the warrant and many have been confirmed as stolen.  Troopers and KPD officers will be working diligently to identify the owners of the stolen property so it can be returned to the appropriate people. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

Alaska: Wintertime Arctic sea ice growth slows long-term decline - New NASA research has found that increases in the rate at which Arctic sea ice grows in the winter may have partially slowed down the decline of the Arctic sea ice cover.

As temperatures in the Arctic have warmed at double the pace of the rest of the planet, the expanse of frozen seawater that blankets the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas has shrunk and thinned over the past three decades. The end-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent has almost halved since the early 1980s. A recent NASA study found that since 1958, the Arctic sea ice cover has lost on average around two-thirds of its thickness and now 70 percent of the sea ice cap is made of seasonal ice, or ice that forms and melts within a single year.

But at the same time that sea ice is vanishing quicker than it has ever been observed in the satellite record, it is also thickening at a faster rate during winter. This increase in growth rate might last for decades, a new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters found.

This does not mean that the ice cover is recovering, though. Just delaying its demise.

"This increase in the amount of sea ice growing in winter doesn't overcome the large increase in melting we've observed in recent decades," said Alek Petty, a sea ice scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study. "Overall, thickness is decreasing. Arctic sea ice is still very much in decline across all seasons and is projected to continue its decline over the coming decades. "

Petty and his team used climate models and observations of sea ice thickness from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite to explore sea ice growth variability across the Arctic. The climate model results compared well both with CryoSat-2's measurements and the results of another commonly used Arctic sea ice model, giving the authors confidence in the climate model's ability to capture Arctic sea ice variability.

"The global climate model seems to do a good job of capturing the Arctic sea ice state and shows that most of the thickness change in the central Arctic is from thermodynamics, that is, ice formation and ice melt, although around the Arctic sea ice edge dynamics, which is ice transport, can play a bigger role," Petty said.

These model simulations showed that in the 1980s, when Arctic sea ice was on average 6.6 feet thick in October, about 3.3 extra feet of ice would form over the winter. That rate of growth has increased and may continue to do so for several more decades in some regions of the Arctic; in the coming decades, we could have an ice pack that would on average be only around 3.3 feet thick in October, but could experience up to 5 feet of ice growth over the winter. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

Ward Cove: Humpback
This whale is showing off its flukes -- its tail fins. The flukes are composed of flesh and not anchored by skeletal anatomy. Photographed recently in Ward Cove, approximately 7 miles north of Ketchikan.
Front Page Feature Photo By DAWN HINK ©2018


Alaska Science: Chunks of northern coast fall to the sea By NED ROZELL - The frozen cliffs of Drew Point, Alaska, (population zero) are tumbling to the ocean faster than perhaps any other location in the Arctic. The sea has eaten house-size chunks of tundra at a rate of more than 50 feet per year recently.

Ben Jones has watched pieces of Alaska’s northern coast disappear since 2003. Then, as a University of Cincinnati researcher, he flew over Drew Point and saw blocks of tundra and frozen soil that had detached from the land and leaned into the sea like capsizing ships.

Last week, he and Chris Arp, both of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Water and Environmental Research Center, snowmachined out to Drew Point in dim winter light. With the landscape now locked up for the long polar night, they went to see if they could gather a deeper plug of soil from a chunk of land that had fallen into the ocean in summer 2018.

They wanted to find out if salty, unfrozen soil at its base might have something to do with why the 20-foot cliffs at Drew Point are losing so much to the ocean. But they found conditions too challenging, and not because there is no sunrise up there this time of year.

“There was a lot of slushy snow and water at the base of the bluff,” Jones said in an email from Utqiagvik, where he and Arp stayed after returning by snowmachine from a cabin on the northern shore of Teshekpuk Lake, about 60 miles southeast. “It would have made coring pretty challenging in the sub-zero air temps.”

They will attempt a deeper soil sample into the bluff on a scheduled trip up there in April 2019. For now, the mystery will remain as to whether the “cryopeg” - salty permafrost that is unfrozen and crumbly - is in a big way responsible for the drama at Drew Point.

The photogenic nature of Drew Point seems to be increasing. Jones, Arp and coauthors in a recent paper calculated that the northern coast there is losing 56 feet per year to the Arctic Ocean. In the most drastic year they measured, 2016, the sea consumed an average of 72 feet of a 5.5-mile stretch of coast around Drew Point. Even in a low year of land loss at Drew Point, 21 feet of coastline disappeared. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018



RICH MANIERI: The Media's Revisionist History of Republican Presidents - Some things look worse over time - bread, milk, my hairline. Other things get better - wine, cheese, Tom Brady. 

But time and history (and the media) are kinder and more forgiving to one specific group of individuals than they are to anyone else on the planet - former Republican presidents.

As I watched and read the mainstream media coverage of the life and death of President George H.W. Bush, a question came to mind: "Didn't the media hate this guy when he was president?"

It can't be. Do you mean to tell me that the same president the New York Times called "a man of uncommon grace" the other day was the same guy Newsweek dubbed a "wimp" in 1987? (By the way, the late president Bush was a fighter pilot in WWII but never let reality stand in the way of a good insult.)

The media's revisionist history doesn't apply only to deceased Republican presidents. 

The late Bush's son, George W. Bush, was called a war criminal and a racist when he was president. The Iraq War was "his Vietnam." Hollywood lampooned him routinely as a thicko, dolt and master of malaprops. 

Now? He's the voice of reason, a statesman, a port in a political storm. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018


JOHN L. MICEK: Will Trump Listen to Lindsey Graham? - What got into Lindsey Graham? Maybe it was the wave of nostalgia for an old school Washington brought on by the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush this week.

Or maybe it was the collective yearning for a simpler time when American presidents could walk 250 yards across the street to Blair House instead of taking a preposterous motorcade.

Whatever it was, it was nice to see the Republican senator from South Carolina temporarily shed his skin as a creature of the Washington establishmentand return - however temporarily - to being the truth-teller of old who wasn't afraid of jousting with then-candidate Donald Trumpin the heat of the 2016 GOP primary campaign.

In case you missed it, Graham suggested this week that one [Read: Trump] had to be "willfully blind" to not conclude that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not responsible for the Oct. 2 murder and dismemberment of dissident Saudi journalist (and legal American resident) Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi mission in Istanbul.

As he and other senators exited a Tuesday briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Graham said he'd been left with no doubt that the Saudi crown prince - whom the Washington media and political class insists on referring to as "MBS," as if he's some wayward Hollywood C-lister and not a murderous despot - was behind the gruesome killing.

According to reports, Khashoggi was cut apart with a bone saw. His body still has not been recovered. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Investor heartburn

Political Cartoon: Investor heartburn
By Dave Granlund ©2018,
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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Towards the Restoration of our PFDs By Ghert Abbott - As we move towards what will hopefully be the full restoration of our PFDs and the complete elimination of the state government’s tax on the Permanent Fund’s earnings, I expect that we’ll hear the return of a number of arguments which were used to justify and sell this atrocious policy in the first place. These arguments are “the state government can’t afford a full PFD,” “a full PFD endangers the Permanent Fund,” and “if we don’t use the Permanent Fund’s earnings we’ll have to have a tax.” I shall answer these arguments in advance.

1. The natural resources of Alaska belong to you; that is why the Permanent Fund and its dividends belong to you.

2. As this money belongs to you, when the state government takes from your dividend and the Permanent Fund’s earnings reserve, this is a regressive tax on your family’s present and future income.

3. In refusing to admit that taking from the PFD is a tax, the politicians implicitly claim you are a freeloader – that you do not really deserve the money derived from the sale of your natural resources.

4. In refusing to admit that taking from the PFD is a tax, the politicians implicitly claim that the Permanent Fund’s earnings are the governments money, to be spent however it wants. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

jpg Opinion

Puppet Politicians By Donald Moskowitz - President Trump declared "almost a complete victory" after learning of the results of the mid-term elections. However, this is another fabrication used to bolster his ego and security. This is no victory because the Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and won the governorships of the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, the Democrats are ready to institute wasteful investigations of the Trump administration instead of working on bipartisan programs beneficial to our country. This could backfire on them in future elections.

Our politicians are puppets who follow the Republican or Democratic lines established by their parties. Their is no individual thinking.. It is all about group thinking and party politics, and this is why there is gridlock and a lack of accomplishment in Washington D.C. Republicans and Democrats behave like lemming groups. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

3 ways Facebook and other social media companies could clean up their acts – if they wanted to By Anthony M. Nadler & Matthew Crain - Facebook is in crisis mode, but the company can take major steps to fix itself – and the global community it says it wants to promote. Facebook founder, CEO and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg need not wait for governments to impose regulations. If he and other industry leaders wanted to, they could make meaningful changes fairly quickly.

It wouldn’t be painless, but Facebook in particular is in a world of hurt already, facing criticism for contributing to civil unrest and sectarian turmoil around the world, delayed responses to disinformation campaigns, misleading users about data-handling policies, and efforts to discredit critics – not to mention a budding employee revolt.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media companies are causing society-wide damage. But they tend to describe the problems as much smaller, resulting from rogue individuals and groups hijacking their systems for nefarious purposes. Our research into how social media can be exploited by manipulative political operatives, conducted with Joan Donovan at the Data & Society research institute, suggests the real problem is much larger than these companies admit.

We believe the roots lie in their extremely profitable advertising systems, which need a major overhaul. We have identified some key changes that these giant powerhouses could make right away. These moves could reduce opportunities for political manipulation and limit the harm to democratic societies around the world. - More...
Saturday PM - December 08, 2018

Medicaid work requirements: Where do they stand after the blue wave? By SIMON F. HAEDER - The 2018 midterm elections have dealt a significant setback to President Trump’s agenda in the legislative arena. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 05, 2018

jpg Opinion

Socialism… A short essay By Paul Livingston - Socialism is a governmental parasite that feeds off the wealth created by the production (income, savings and investment) of a country.  Government with its politicians has both good and evil qualities, as government takes on the qualities of its creators, which are humans who also have good and evil qualities.  Government is about law and order and maintaining an orderly environment for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Government is not about creating wealth, jobs and the distribution of wealth.  - More...
Wednesday PM - December 05, 2018     

1 in 4 government officials accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era is still in office today By JAMILLAH WILLIAMS - At least 138 government officials, in both elected and appointed positions, have been publicly reported for sexual harassment, assault, misconduct or violence against women since the 2016 election, according to an analysis my colleagues and I conducted. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2018

US-China trade war truce: 2 reasons why it's unlikely to last By JEFFREY KUCIK - Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed to a ceasefire in their increasingly painful trade war, yet their governments’ differing depictions of the deal show just how far apart they really are. - More...
Monday PM - December 03, 2018

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