Inside Opinion

If you have questions about how the Daily News makes editorial decisions, this blog has the answers. Editorial page editor Matt Zencey and writers Frank Gerjevic and Rosemary Shinohara will discuss what they're working on, answer questions and ask your perspective on issues facing Alaska.

Me and Nicholas Kristof - 10/12/2009 5:02 pm

Those pricey city union contracts...What ADN said at the time - 10/7/2009 6:03 pm

Home heating haiku - 10/6/2009 12:42 pm

"He got more than 175 words for his letter!" - 9/24/2009 6:23 pm

Dividend haiku - 9/23/2009 5:12 pm

Garage doors debate - 9/23/2009 4:12 pm

What Alaska members of Congress say about financial reform - 9/21/2009 4:49 pm

Why the federal court dismissed the challenge to Alaska's way of picking judges - 9/16/2009 10:58 am

More from Lower 48'ers about Palin

We’re still getting lots of mail from the Lower 48 about Sarah Palin. It’s running about 50-50 for and against her. We don’t plan to devote much print edition space to these letters, so I’m posting some highlights here.

-- Matt Zencey, editorial page editor


Gary Priester
Placitas, N.M.

While we know that being a Republican means never having to admit you were wrong, it is time for you to stop blaming everyone and every thing for your loss in this election. It was as much your fault as anyone's ....


Sheila Austin from Savannah Georgia writes:

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Monegan's lawyer re: Petumenos Troopergate report

After the Daily News ran this editorial on investigator Tim Petumenos' less-than-convincing exoneration of Sarah Palin in Troopergate, we received this further critique of the report from Walt Monegan's lawyer, Jeff Feldman.

-- Matt Zencey, editorial page editor


A close reading of the report issued by the investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board reveals a variety of errors and weaknesses. Some examples:

(1) The investigator's report omits discussion of and disregards substantial evidence, including multiple instances in which evidence seriously conflicted with statements made by the Governor (see discussion below)

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Worth reading

This essay on the Politico website by former Navy officer Peter Kauffmann helps explain why Democrats got 44% of the military vote this year in the presidential race, and why a Democrat like Mark Begich could out-poll Ted Stevens in Anchorage's military base district (Ft. Rich-Elmendorf):


For decades, Republicans have worked to perfect the art of lapel pin patriotism – creating and exploiting iconic imagery for political gain while neglecting the substantive needs of our veterans. We see the devastating effect of this focus on rhetoric over reality in the dismal treatment of our wounded heroes at Walter Reed, attempts to block the new GI Bill, and the Bush Administration’s failure to adequately fund mental health care.

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More on Elijah

The family has set up an account in Elijah's grandmother's name for anyone who would like to contribute. The account at Alaska U.S.A. Credit Union is No. 1362339.

It is in Ellen Grable's name, and is for helping the family take care of Elijah.

Elijah's mother Serene says Qualis Health, which provides services for Medicaid, has assigned a new nurse case manager who is really trying to help.

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Reaction to Elijah's story

From Rosemary Shinohara:

For people who commented wanting to help Elijah, the five-year-old with complicated medical problems who was featured in an editorial on Monday, his grandmother is trying to figure out how the family can take contributions and not run afoul of Medicaid.

Stay tuned for that.

Parents of some other children with his type of gastroenteritis and food allergies wrote in offering practical help. Two of them mentioned a center in Cincinnati that treats this illness. They offered tips on how to get the medicines the families needs through the Medicaid system, and which doctors have been most helpful to them.
Thanks to all who have responded.

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Ask Joe Contraire...about TASERGATE!

lJoe Contraire: Ask Joe about .... TASERGATE!Joe Contraire: Ask Joe about .... TASERGATE!libnanook asked:
Dear Joe, were you happy with the Tasergate report that recently came out?

A: Boy Howdy, that Pee-too-men-oze guy really stuck it to Branchflower and the Palin-haters, huh?? When I read about him clearing our beloved Guv, I was so happy, I tasered the neighbor’s cat. (That infernal feline keeps despoiling the tailings pile right outside my window. If anybody’s gonna ruin the environment around my place, it’s ME!)

Next time I get in trouble with the EPA, I’m gonna see if ol’ Timmy-boy’ll take my case.

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No, we didn't endorse Don Young, too

Several Internet readers of the ADN got a little confused about our endorsement in the U.S. House race. There is a link on ADN's home page for opinion section content and the very brief headlines under that link do not identify which are our editorials and which are other commentary. Some folks saw both "Berkowitz for Congress" and "Don Young is best choice for U.S. House seat" and wondered: What the heck?? When readers clicked through to each commentary, neither was labeled properly. The pro-Don Young piece was reprinted from Voice of the Times and, for some reason, the editor's note explaining that did not appear online. Our editorial endorsing Berkowitz did not have any heading to identify it as the official opinion of the Daily News. We're working on fixing the glitches that produced the mix-up.

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Another zinger of a letter

FROM MATT ZENCEY, editorial page editor:

Monday was the last day for running election letters in the print edition - we steer clear of them on Election Day. But this one that came in over the weekend made its point so well, I thought I'd post it here:

This letter came from Art Timm, of Anchorage:


"I am not a crook." Richard Nixon. November 17, 1973.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Bill Clinton. January
26, 1998.

"I have not been convicted of anything." Ted Stevens. October 30, 2008.
-- Art Timm, Anchorage

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Hilarious comment on ADN endorsements

I really got a kick out of this comment from sniff, posted after he or she read our endorsement of Ethan Berkowitz for Congress:

"Oh my goodness. I just realized the Anchorage Daily Noose is only endorsing candidates with 'B' in their last name. OBAMA. BIDEN. BAGICH. BERKOWITZ. Should real Alaskans expect any more from a company whose flagship publication is the Sacramento BEE? Hello??"

That cracked me up.

But here's a question for "sniff "-- there is also a BOND package on the ballot (that's B as in 'bond') and we came out against it.. even though as a BEE-type paper we should favor BIG (there's that B again) Government. Shouldn't we have told voters to make a BEE line for the polls and vote YES on the BOND??

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Ask Joe Contraire (He's baaaack!)

Joe Contraire: Got a question about Alaska politics? Ask Joe!Joe Contraire: Got a question about Alaska politics? Ask Joe!Editor's note: Joe Contraire has put away his D-9 bulldozer for the winter and is now working indoors as a plumber. He doesn’t have a plumber’s license and he owes the Mat-Su Borough some unpaid taxes, so he figures he is eminently qualified to be a political commentator. Joe will take your questions here on the blog, so fire away!

Q: Joe, say it ain’t so!! Why’d you come back to that Commie-lovin’ ADN rag? They endorsed Obama, fer heaven’s sake. Obama, the terrorist-huggin’, cocaine-sniffin’, community organizin’, gun-hatin’ secret-Muslim socialist who wasn’t even born in this country. They just want you writing for them so they can try to keep us real Americans reading their left-wing drivel.

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Funny letter re Obama

This letter came too late to make it in before Halloween, but I thought it was clever (even though it makes fun of the guy we endorsed!)

-- Matt Zencey, editorial page editor


Wonderful World of Obamanomics

Halloween night is the perfect opportunity to begin teaching the children in your neighborhood about the “Wonderful World of Obamanomics” and “Spreading the Wealth.”

As they shout, “Trick or treat!”, you peer into their bags full of candy and remark about how much candy they already have. Then you tell them you’re going to take half of what they have and give it to the kids too lazy to go trick or treating for themselves. Oh, and while you’re at it, explain to the trick or treaters that they’ll also have to pay for any doctor visits for the lazy kids who happened to get sick from their re-distributed candy.

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Thanks for talking sense

First, thanks to all of you who accepted the invitation to talk sense to me. Time is precious, and you spent some of yours to join the debate.

Second, a few responses to some of your responses.

A few of you seemed to think that because the Daily News endorsed Barack Obama for president, that I couldn’t be serious about being undecided.

The fact is, members of the editorial board don’t march in lockstep with one another. We have disagreements. The endorsement is unequivocally the institutional stand of the Daily News, but that doesn’t mean everyone at the paper - or even everyone on the editorial board - signs on.

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Talk sense to Frank!

Daily News editorial writer Frank Gerjevic is still undecided in the presidential race. Help him make up his mind. Send us your best argument for your candidate. Frank will read them all, and we'll publish the best of the batch for each candidate. You can post your comments here or e-mail them to

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Where's my letter about the election??

Readers have a lot to say about this year's elections, but the Daily News just does not have enough room in the print edition to publish every letter to the editor we get. In the print edition, we are running a representative selection of the many letters we receive about the presidential race and Alaska's contests for U.S. Senate and U.S. House.

All letters about candidates for Alaska Legislature will be posted on our web site in Election Letters '08 ( If you sent us a letter about the presidential or congressional races, you're welcome to post it on there, too, whether or not it’s chosen for the print edition.

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Marine's father says, "Thanks, Alaska"

We received this heartfelt thanks from Kevin Karella, father of U.S. Marine Jason Karella, who died serving in Afghanistan. A shorter version of this will appear in print this weekend.
- Matt Zencey, editorial page editor

Dear Editor,

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the friends, the Anchorage community, the State of Alaska and the U.S. Marines in Alaska for the outpouring of condolences, encouragement, sorrow and immeasurable assistance of every kind since we learned that my son, Marine Corporal Jason Karella was killed in action on October 8th 2008 in Afghanistan.

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Does Palin have a tax problem?

Does Palin owe federal taxes on the state per diem she collected while working from her home in Wasilla? Does she owe federal taxes on the money the state paid for her children's travel?

A Wall Street Journal analysis suggests the answer to both is "Yes."

Palin's defense is that the payments were not included in the W-2 form the state issued her. She based her tax return, which was prepared by H&R Block, on the W-2.

The Wall Street Journal analysis suggests the IRS may well conclude that the state's W-2 is wrong.

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Lighted signs for the PAC

The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, after 20 years, is proposing to put some signs on the building -- A lighted sign with its name on the side facing Town Square Park, and a lighted marquee on Fifth Avenue that would change based on the events being promoted.

Nancy Harbour of the PAC says the proposal needs to be approved by the city's Urban Design Commission, and it hasn't been scheduled yet.

But the PAC has chosen a design by graphic artist Karen Larsen. Some people who have seen it, like members of the Downtown Partnership, like it, Ms. Harbour says. Some say the PAC's already a busy design, and the signs will make it more so.

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Alaska Native corp in middle of FDA scandal

Monday's headline story in ADN is a Washington Post account of how FDA officials used an Alaska Native corporation as a front to evade competitive bidding rules and steer a $300,000 public relations contract to the private firm the FDA wanted.

This is not the first time the federal bidding preference for Alaska Native corporations, known as 8a, has been abused.

Here is an investigative piece by the Washington Monthly, from July/August 2005,
that details many other abuses of this special preference granted to Alaska Native corporations and how they got such a favorable arrangement from the federal government.

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Readers write about the debate Thursday night

Here's an early peek at letters readers wrote after the Palin-Biden debate Thursday night. Look for debate letters in Sunday's Daily News.


It is scary to think that in the near future Sarah Palin could actually become the leader of the free world whose decision making could have far reaching and long lasting implications for the human race. Likability is no substitute for long, hard experience.
If the governor were to become president she might be able to hold her own on the domestic level but certainly not on foreign policy and world leadership. Joe Biden on the other hand came across as experienced and informed and intuitive on all issues and appears ready to take the helm on a moment's.

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Sample unpublished pro-Palin comment to ADN

Here's an example of the kind of pro-Palin comments that come in to us and that we decide not to publish. She is passing along a transcript from Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
- Matt Zencey, editorial page editor.

Now print this baby!!!
I have gotten a big laugh out of Your opinions of Our Sarah, Now print what She and McCain are really like..
You really don't know what real journalism is do You... Its not Your opion but the peoples..


Subject: Bet Ya didn't hear about this on NBC

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