Hijabs don't kill people; people kill people - 4/29/2013 12:25 am
How do you say "Go ahead; make my day" in Arabic? - 4/20/2013 9:03 am
Let's privatize oil money in Alaska - 4/9/2013 5:07 pm
Wet or dry--maybe it's time we had each other's backs - 3/31/2013 3:46 pm
A Matter of Choice - 2/18/2013 12:49 pm
What's in a name, anyway? - 2/8/2013 10:43 pm
How about a ban on vicious and mindless gun politics? - 1/18/2013 9:50 pm
Smedley Butler got it right in 1935 - 1/3/2013 11:06 am
Posted: October 13, 2009 - 2:28 pm
For those who missed the point of my Sept. 24 blog, I merely addressed the issue of “discovery” of other peoples’ territories to challenge the myth that our continent was not “discovered” until Europeans found it and to try a little role reversal. I did that because I found lots of double standards which our society merely takes for granted as the only way we’re allowed to look at things.
I played a little role reversal in my recent "dream" blog. What if Holocaust refugees landed on our shores and we were forced to sacrifice our lands for them. How would we react? Do people of other countries and religions have the same rights we do?
Posted: October 8, 2009 - 5:28 am
I had a strange dream the other night.
The international community, alarmed by the Holocaust in Darfur, arranged for a place to resettle the refugees—an East Texas town called Palestine (pronounced PAL-us-steen).
The city’s 18,000 residents complained it couldn’t absorb tens of thousands of refugees from Darfur.
But, soon after their arrival, the refugees joined the local Lions Club and started calling themselves Lionists, proclaiming God promised the land to them. After local elections, the Lionists claimed a majority on the Palestine City Council and passed eminent domain ordinances seizing property of longtime Palestine residents. Soon more and more refugees began settling on the West Bank of the Trinity River. The old time residents decided to fight back and formed the Palestine Land Owners group. A fist fight broke out after a PLO member complained East Texans shouldn’t be punished for the Holocaust, which they had nothing to do with. So the local police chief, newly elected after running on the Lionist ticket, called the Palestine residents a bunch of hooligans. He persuaded the city council to declare a curfew, closed down businesses owned by the Palestinites, said they couldn’t use local roads no more, and built a big fence to keep them away from the land they used to own before eminent domain took it away from them. After the Palestinites complained the fence kept them from going to work and buying groceries and a woman from the Seattle area got run over by a Lionist bulldozer, the Lionists got federal funds. When the Palestinites complained about being pushed around by big gummint, the Lionists said all the Palestinites were denying the Sudanese Holocaust. Then the Lionists played the race card and labeled the Palestinites bigots.
Posted: October 5, 2009 - 4:45 pm
When stress becomes too much for me to handle, I can always turn to reactions to my essays. Laughter, the Reader's Digest used to say, is the best medicine.
Take, for example, reactions to my little commemoration of Fortunate Eagle Day and the guy who lampooned the “Columbus discovered America” mindset.
The_Insider provided the most laughter. After accusing me of either a “Catholic or Liberal… relentless guilt trip,” T_I proclaimed, “We are responsible for racism, genocide of Native Americans, killing of innocent Iraqis and Palestinians, American peace keepers and the environment.”
Posted: September 24, 2009 - 11:40 am
In March, 1973, as part of a project at the University of New Mexico, I asked a university librarian who discovered Europe. She couldn’t answer other than to say Europe is just there. I explained to her that America wasn’t “discovered” until someone from far away found it. Someone from far away had to “discover” Europe.
Six months later, Adam Fortunate Eagle answered my question. The Fallon, Nevada Native planted a spear at Rome’s International Airport and claimed Italy for the Chippewa Nation. On Sept. 24, 1973, someone had finally discovered Europe.
The Natives of Europe owe Adam Fortunate Eagle a big debt of gratitude. If it weren’t for him, the Natives today would be the ignorant, primitive savages they before Sept. 24, 1973.
Posted: September 21, 2009 - 11:01 am
Let’s apply reason, not political ideology, to the latest fustercluck over race and politics. Former President Jimmy Carter and several other dreaded “liberals” got fed up with signs comparing President Obama to apes, calling him a lyin’ African instead of an African lion, drawing Hitler-type mustaches on photos of the president, claiming he’s a Kenyan Muslim, etc. Carter and others suggested race-baiting may play a part.
So, predictably, Brian Sweeney, Jr. and others denied race has anything to do with hatred of and hostility for the president. So, now we have yet another round of shouting, name-calling, finger-pointing and politics as usual.
Posted: September 18, 2009 - 1:47 pm
Lisa Murkowski’s Sept. 12 column, “North Slope seas contain oil and gas vital to US,” seems to channel Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign slogan, “Yes, we can.”
Alaska’s senior senator expressed confidence “subsistence activities and energy development CAN comfortably co-exist….offshore production CAN be safely conducted in Alaska’s federal waters….and the (Interior) department’s existing offshore plan CAN be confirmed.”
Alaska’s can-can girl also echoes what politicians were saying back when I lived in Fairbanks during the early pipeline days, “I strongly support RESPONSIBLE exploration and production in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas…. as much of (oil and gas) energy as possible should come from secure, reliable domestic sources that CAN be RESPONSIBLY produced.” (Emphasis mine)
Posted: September 16, 2009 - 8:18 am
Which president said, “Mistakes were made?”
a) Ronald Reagan
b) Bill Clinton
The correct answer is c). Reagan uttered those memorable words after first denying he had anything to do with trading arms with terrorists in order to finance his own terrorists. Clinton said the same thing after first denying he had “sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”
I don’t know whether either or both presidents were referring to the original actions they first denied or to lying about their original actions or both.
As a rather traditional American Christian , I view terrorism as a crime and a sin, doing business with terrorists a crime and a sin, and lying as a sin. Engaging in terrorism is, for me, an impeachable offense, a “high crime” indeed, and I argue that lying about engaging in terrorism is also a “high crime” and an impeachable offense. I view adultery as a sin and lying about adultery a sin. But that is primarily a personal matter between consenting adults and God, not a crime and not an impeachable offense.
Posted: September 11, 2009 - 9:13 am
When I visited Jim in suburban Jacksonville, Florida in October, 1962, he complained about the loss of his personal freedom to a government that forced him to pay social security taxes. That was the last time I saw Jim. He and my sister were killed in an auto accident in the Bahamas the following June. His $5000 life insurance policy did not adequately provide for their four children, including three-and-a-half-year-old Ronnie. She and her sisters depended on Jim’s social security taxes for their survival. Ronnie is now a grandmother living on Chena Hot Springs Road east of Fairbanks. Her husband Ralph complains about the loss of his personal freedom to a government that forces him to pay social security taxes.
Posted: September 10, 2009 - 9:50 am
After a detour or two to deal with the personal hostility expressed by people who don’t like my ideas but resort to name-calling instead of logic, I hope to get back to contributing to the marketplace of ideas. Here goes:
During my face-to-face meeting with Dr. Brian Sweeney, Jr., my most persistent critic, he began by questioning state money spent on Alaska villages, which he thought ought to be self-sustaining, and then complained about the dysfunctional people he sees who tend to see society’s sacrifices on their behalf as entitlements, not privileges.
I acknowledged the doctor has a point. I told him as a landlord, former husband and an uncle of four orphans, I have personal experience with the attitudes he articulated. So it is with real dialogue. I did not respond by saying, “Yeah, but,” as the stereotyped leftist he considers me would do. Not every poor person in Anchorage is like that, but some do fit the stereotype. You don’t need to tell me. I’ve had a major dose of that this summer.
Posted: September 9, 2009 - 11:45 am
One thing about satire: The targets rarely if ever get the point. Over the weekend, I decided to satirize all the ad hominem attacks, accusations and name-calling by making a statement about abortion and speculating how the name-callers and accusers would react to it. I wanted to satirize those who try to make my essays all about me instead of all about the issue I discuss. So what happened? The name-callers then accused me of making the issue “about me.” Go figure.
One character, who likes to accuse me of drinking Kool-Aid and wearing a tinfoil hat, complained (s)he never said I drink Kool-Aid from a tinfoil hat, and, then, of all things, asks that we stick to the issues. If you like irony, you gotta love it. Apparently, this person believes the issues are whether I hate Semites and wear a tinfoil hat.
Posted: September 6, 2009 - 8:41 am
Responses to my essays remind me of a very old joke:
Psychiatrist gives patient an ink blot test.
“What does this ink blot remind you of?”
“What about this one?”
“This one over here?”
“And, finally, this one?”
“Hm, you seem preoccupied with sex.”
“Not at all; you’re the one who keeps showing me those dirty pictures.”
Once I classified acts of terrorism in three different categories, with examples: terrorism financed by the United States, terrorism influenced by the United States and terrorism the United States has nothing to do with. So, someone accuses me of saying the US is responsible for all the terrorism in the world. What do I make of that?
Posted: September 4, 2009 - 7:43 am
Roberto Clemente, my favorite baseball player died because of foreign aid, or should I say the lack of it?
After a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua, the US sent loads of emergency aid there. Future Hall of Famer Clemente knew the dictator, Anastasio Somoza, would likely steal it for himself. So Clemente made a fatal decision. He chartered a plane and loaded it with stuff he bought himself. But the pilot and the plane he flew had records of frequently violating federal regulations. The plane with Clemente and emergency supplies disappeared into the ocean shortly after takeoff from Puerto Rico.
Posted: August 31, 2009 - 10:47 pm
In a previous essay, I said the Daily News had not published anything from Alaska reporters Dahr Jamail and Karen Button. I was wrong. Matt Zencey tells me his paper in 2007 did publish a Compass piece from Button. So I think it’s fair to say the Daily News by 2007 had moved somewhat past a mere stenographic coverage of the war.
Somehow the responses to my essay morphed into a discussion about proof that human behavior has caused global warming. My favorite responder pointed out correctly that there is no such absolute proof.
We cannot replicate the wide varieties of human behavior and the wide varieties of weather patterns in a strictly-controlled laboratory. So, of course, trying to replicate the effects of human behavior on weather grows even more speculative, to say the least.
Posted: August 29, 2009 - 9:57 pm
I don't like writing two blogs the same day. But geeesh.
The idea of libeling an anonymous critic is absurd.
I refuse to be put on the defensive. I remember Richard Nixon's famous comment, "I am not a crook." That really backfired. People started wondering why he was saying that. Shakespeare once wrote, "Methinks he doth protest too much."
I refused to fall into that trap. So I decided to spring one of my own.
I have absolutely no reason to believe that whoever The_Insider is molests kids.
I simply employed a tactic. Period.
In fact, today I discussed the matter with none other that Brian Sweeney, Jr. who has also called me anti-Semitic. I thought Brian would explain to me specificially what led him to conclude such a thing, but Brian started talking about his college professor at Dartmouth.
Posted: August 29, 2009 - 8:52 am
Shortly after I got out of school and took a gig as a volunteer teacher in a Lower Yukon village in 1961, I confronted Bobby, the village juvenile delinquent.
“You’re either my friend or my enemy,” I proclaimed. “Which will it be?”
He looked me in the eye and said right away, “Neither.”
More than ten years later, a college course explained what had been going on in the village. I approached the kid with the traditional “two-value” system, a way of looking at things as if there are only two mutually exclusive conditions—something is either black or white, right or wrong, left or right, up or down. The trouble with that way of looking at things is that it ignores the real world. Native Alaskans did not see things that way. They knew better.
Posted: August 27, 2009 - 5:51 am
Apparently, Brian Sweeney the doctor with the Spock logo, has a helper, The_Insider, in providing me more and more laughs.
T_I calls me “anti-Semitic” because I oppose handouts to a particular country. Since I also oppose handouts to Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Egypt, doesn’t this also make me anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian, anti-black and anti-Muslim? And since I oppose handouts to Germany, France England and Spain, doesn’t that make me anti-European as well? Hey, if you’re going to call me a bigot, go all the way. Let’s show some consistency, shall we?
As far as Native Americans are concerned, I am unaware they came to our shores and, in the name of God, pushed the Europeans off the lands they had occupied for centuries. Maybe, T_I can provide me with some sources so I can be more enlightened about US history. Unless I’m becoming more senile than I thought, some Southern states also fought the US. But at least Natives and Southerners pay taxes. Does that make them less deserving of federal handouts than foreigners who pay no taxes?
Posted: August 25, 2009 - 11:48 am
A year ago this month, I called in to a local radio program and asked Democratic Congress candidates Diane Benson and Ethan Berkowitz to tell me why my taxes should be confiscated to support countries that attack Americans. I heard Benson ejaculate not softly enough, “Oh, God.” She went on to say Native Alaskans know what it is to be occupied by foreign colonial powers, but she ducked the question. She and Berkowitz instead told me how much they oppose the war in Iraq. I will give Benson credit for one thing: She opposed the war way before it became fashionable. That took guts. But a politician with the guts to say no to handouts to Israel? Forgetaboutit.
Posted: August 21, 2009 - 10:37 pm
I lasted about 75 minutes at the Aug. 20 town hall meeting hosted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski at Dimond High School. She showed up late for the meeting. Then a moderator droned on and on about the necessity of limiting questions and comments from the 800 or so assembled to no more than two minutes. Then Lisa got up and droned on even more. Instead of lining up those who wished to speak behind a microphone, someone wandered with a microphone throughout the auditorium as the moderator picked out people he decided to give a chance to speak. While the audience had only two minutes to make their comments, Lisa had as much time as she wanted to respond. But, for the most part, she did limit her answers to about two minutes.
Posted: August 19, 2009 - 12:15 pm
I like Elise Patkotak’s Aug. 19 column a lot better than Julia O’Malley’s.
Elise’s column resonates with my experience while growing up with racism in New York. When I was young, disparaging blacks, Jews and Hispanics was fashionable as were the derogatory words depicting those peoples. When Israel was becoming a state in the 1940s, people in my neighborhood were saying, “Guns for the Arabs, sneakers for the Jews.” When I grew older I became more and more aware that people who didn’t like themselves expressed the most virulent racism. I especially noticed as a high school teacher in New York and Fairbanks that the kids who got into the most trouble expressed the most hatred of minorities. When I got to Fairbanks, I noticed the kids there were a lot less hostile to blacks than the kids in New York. One Fairbanksan bragged that her generation was a lot more tolerant than the old (over 30) people. But I soon discovered the Fairbanks kids were about as hostile to Natives as the New York kids were to blacks. That was during the “Never trust anyone over 30” era. Julia O’Malley did not invent trans-generational hostility.
Posted: August 17, 2009 - 1:28 pm
I’ve been engaging in a subversive activity lately—thinking.
As I understand it, from noon, Jan. 20, 2001 to noon, Jan. 20, 2009, disagreeing with the president was an act of treasonous support for terrorists. Then from noon, Jan. 20, 2009, disagreeing with the president became our patriotic duty.
We used to round up those dissenters and protect them from harm in free speech zones. So I’m wondering about all those angry folks showing up today at town hall meetings to exercise their First-Amendment free-speech rights. Don’t conservatives have the same right to be protected in free-speech zones?