The Trail : A blog on the 2006 Alaska governor's race by Kyle Hopkins

About the blog: The race to become Alaska's next governor is on and it's about to get muddy. Grab your boots and follow the Daily News along the winding campaign trail.


Blog : Alaska Politics

Happy trails - 11/8/2006 8:05 pm

Forty-two - 11/8/2006 8:01 pm

Election hangover - 11/8/2006 10:25 am

Tonight (updated) - 11/7/2006 12:18 pm

Full Moon - 11/6/2006 7:11 pm

Fishy photos? - 11/6/2006 12:08 pm

Smelly deal? - 11/5/2006 3:31 pm

Sunday best (part two) - 11/5/2006 3:18 pm


Halcro and Knowles looked to get Palin on the ropes tonight on the public television debate, quizzing her and asking her for specifics on her plans. She fought back, going after Knowles on predator control and spending money on Outside media production, for example.

Toward the end, moderator Michael Carey said people would be hearing all about the candidates’ views on things like public employee pensions and the pipeline over the next several days, and looked to change things up with a pair of curveball questions about religion:

Is it OK for religious leaders to endorse candidates, and should public schools teach alternatives to evolution (such as creationism and intelligent design?)

First, he asked how they would feel if they walked into a church and heard a minister or pastor endorse a candidate for governor.

(Note, the following are excerpts, not the candidates’ full responses.)

HALCRO said: “I don’t have a problem with it, I mean I think everybody certainly has the right to freedom of speech …
“The big issue I have is when religious organizations exert that power and craft public policy like the recent tax exemption law that passed in, in Juneau this spring. And I think those are the things, when you use that leverage from the pulpit to, to tweak or to form public policy, I think that’s detrimental to the state and to the country.”

KNOWLES: “Freedom of speech. I don’t mind what is said from the pulpit.
“I also look at ways at which we can, to public policy, in a positive way, bring religious beliefs. I did so with a subsistence summit that I held here in Anchorage.
“And I wanted to get beyond the stakeholders which for decade it seemed like had been fighting tooth and nail. So I wanted to bring business leaders and religious leaders …
(Knowles talked about a Russian Orthodox priest who responded to someone's comment at the summit that people would never actually die if they didn’t have subsistence.)
“… (He) said in a very quite voice that you will die not only culturally, you will die spiritually, and yes you will even die physically, and it riveted the crowd.
“With AFN meeting here this week, I think it’s important to remember that kind of sense and understanding brought good public policy.”

PALIN: “A pastor, a priest, a rabbi, certainly they have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. And you know, thank the lord that we do have that freedom of speech.
“Faith is very important to so many of us here in America, and I would never support any government effort to stifle our freedom of religion or freedom of expression or freedom of speech.
“You know, I would just caution maybe a pastor to be very careful if they’re in front of a congregation and they decide to endorse one candidate over another. You know, there may be some frustration with that candidacy endorsement being made manifest by a few, fewer dollars in the offering plate, so I would just offer that bit of caution. (laughing.)
"But, no, I’ll tell you, freedom of speech is so precious and it’s worth defending and of course freedom of religion and freedom of expression will be things that I will fight for.”


Next, Carey asked about teaching alternatives to evolution - such as creationism and intelligent design - in public schools.

HALCRO: “I think anything that is religious-based in, in concept, you know, really should, needs to be taught in the proper channel - philosophy, sociology.
“I don’t think it should be taught as a science.”

“… The answer is no. The reason why is we don’t want politics in our science. We actually want more science in our politics.
"We don’t want to just teach all things because it may be politically correct. We want to teach the best science there is, and there is overwhelming evidence, there’s almost incontrovertible evidence that evolution is the science that, that we know.
“And that’s what we should always teach, to never compromise on the principals just because it’s politically popular.”

PALIN: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information.
“Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.
"And, you know, I say this, too, as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution.
“It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.”

  10     October 26, 2006 - 6:02pm | alaskastraightalker

Pro-Palin mailer breaks state law

That's the headline of a story in the Juneau newspaper today about an illegal mailer sent on behalf of Palin by the RGA, the DC group that got money from Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed casino clients, and Tom Delay.

The story said, in part: Alaska state elections law bars Outside groups interfering in Alaska elections, and makes campaign efforts such as the RGA's mailer illegal, said Brooke Miles, executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

"It's a completely prohibited ad," Miles said. The ban on Outside money doesn't apply to advocacy of issues and doesn't apply to ballot measures, but Miles said the RGA mailer was obviously intended to help Palin beat Knowles.

"There's no way they could even pretend it's issues advocacy," Miles said.

So much for Palin, ethics, and clean government. If she lets her campaign engage in sleazy tactics by looking the other way when an Outside group breaks the law, you can imagine what she will do if elected to office. According to APOC, she could have asked the RGA not to do ads for her, but she declined. Maybe she needs to keep corruption chair Ruedrich working on her behalf as well.

  October 26, 2006 - 8:12pm | heman

and what court declared this

and what court declared this illegal?

  October 27, 2006 - 5:18am | heman

I have been to the APOC web

I have been to the APOC web site and can find no ADVISORY OPINION posted on this matter, here is the complete text.

2 AAC 50.905. ADVISORY OPINIONS. (a) The commission staff shall review all requests for advisory opinions submitted under AS 15.13.374. If the commission staff determines that a request does not satisfy the requirements in AS 15.13.374, the commission staff shall reject the request and notify the person, group, or nongroup entity making the request of the deficiencies. A rejected request may be refiled.

(b) If the commission staff determines that the request satisfies the requirements in AS 15.13.374, the executive director or the executive director’s designee shall prepare a recommended advisory opinion within seven days after receipt of the opinion request for the commission to consider at its next regular meeting.

(c) The commission will approve, disapprove, or modify the recommended advisory opinion.

(d) The commission may reconsider an advisory opinion at any time upon the motion of a member who voted with the majority that originally approved the opinion, and if the commission adopts the motion to reconsider by the affirmative vote of at least four members. Adoption of a motion to reconsider vacates the advisory opinion to which it relates. Action by the requesting party in good faith reliance on the advisory opinion before the party has notice of reconsideration may not be the subject of an investigation under 2 AAC 50.460, 2 AAC 50.507, 2 AAC 50.810, or 2 AAC 50.815. (Eff. 1/4/86, Register 97; am 7/20/95, Register 135; am 1/1/200l, Register 156; am 2/20/2005, Register 173)

I can not find where the APOC made a opinion. your post is half truth.

(g) A commission order under (d) or (e) of this section may be appealed to the superior court by either the complainant or respondent within 30 days in accordance with the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure.

This whole thing is just a Miles political statement. If there was any thing to it the commission would have issued an opinion.

  October 26, 2006 - 10:08pm | alaskastraightalker

It doesn't go to court

It goes to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. It is an administrative, not a judicial, proceeding.

The staff of the state agency whose mission is "to encourage the public’s confidence in their elected and appointed officials by administering Alaska’s disclosure statutes and publishing financial information regarding the activities of election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers" said it is illegal. It will go to the commission, and they will in all liklihood agree, since the violation of the law on behalf of the Palin campaign is so blatant.

Call APOC yourself if you have any questions- or doubts.

  October 28, 2006 - 5:57am | heman

Is Ms Miles speaking for the

Is Ms Miles speaking for the APOC? I think not.

  October 28, 2006 - 7:25am | leslie

She is

The APOC Director.

  October 28, 2006 - 7:55am | Black3

But she doesn't have the authority

to say that; only the Board could make that conclusion. The most she could properly say is that there is probable cause. Even if there is an opinion on file, it takes findings of fact and conclusions of law in the specific circumstance to determine that the act was violative.

Were there any adult supervision left in the administration, her career indicator light should be flashing brighly.

  October 28, 2006 - 11:53pm | heman


MS mILES IS WAY OUT OF BOUNDS. She could make a opinion for the APOC. But her opinion doesn't in anyway reflect the opinion of the APOC until they vote on it.

  October 30, 2006 - 4:44pm | akisok2

Are you on the APOC Board?

How do you know what way the APOC Board will rule? Do you really think that they won't see the illegality of this mailer? It's not quantum physics here - there is no space / time warp happening. They mailed something that arrived after the deadline. End of story. Illegal.

  October 29, 2006 - 10:34am | mike_l

out of bounds

your typing skills are out of bounds.

I think Ms. Miles and all of APOC would dance circles around Miss. Alaska. You need more than a crown and a gang of goons to be a good leader.

  October 28, 2006 - 12:58pm | heman

You hit it. This is one

You hit it. This is one agency that requires adult leadership.

  October 27, 2006 - 4:19pm | heman

Ms Miles thinks this mailer

Ms Miles thinks this mailer is illegal. I see no opinion by the APOC. I see nothing Illegal. Thats my opinion.

  October 27, 2006 - 2:29am | arajack

Postage on mailer

Go to H&H Mailing Company. Sarah Palin is all over it, appears she used this firm for puchasing campaign items, which is no problem, BUT, the Republican Governors Association paid to H&H for the mailer in question now. Is any one stuid enough to believe the Governors came to Alaska and has it made. They simply laundered the money and made payment. Now, who do you think actually had the mailer prepared? Duuh. And of course they had nothing to do with it. Sure. We were told that already on a previous mailer. Someone must think Alaskans are a bunch of morons and can be duped easily to get elected. And, I wonder what the US Post Office will think about having to be involved?

  October 26, 2006 - 7:55pm | bmcdaniel9


I was stunned to receive the mailer with the RGA info at the bottom two days ago, not at all 30 days out from the election.

The damage is done. Palin gets the benefit. I guess the law just doesn't matter, sorta like her and Kohring's billboards placed blatantly in the Parks Hwy. easement in front of George's in Wasilla.

  9     October 26, 2006 - 5:47pm | truthseeker

A great day.......

for the truth and for Alaska. And I heard tony ended his presentation to the oil companies and the Alliance today with a heart rending version of james taylor's "You've got a friend". I'm almost starting to tear up.

  October 26, 2006 - 10:33pm | alaskastraightalker

I'm sure that's as "truth"ful as the rest of your ranting

Maybe you can tell us why Palin didn't fix it when she was Chair of the Oil + Gas Commission, or why the republican legislature rejected Knowles' plan in late 2001 to beef up oversight of Slope safety.

Your attempt to pin your view of action or inaction on one person is just part of the Republican "blame game," right out of the Karl Rove/RGA play book.

  October 26, 2006 - 10:26pm | alaskastraightalker

I'm sure that's as "truth"ful as the rest of your ranting

Maybe you can tell us the truth as to why even Lisa Murkowski expressed concern that"she cannot understand how this (lack of pigging to clean excess sludge out of transit lines) was allowed to slide for four years," i.e. the 4 years after Knowles was out of office, and during several years that Palin was chair of the Oil + Gas Commission.

Or maybe that would make objective people question your blind support of Palin.

  October 27, 2006 - 6:43am | truthseeker

did you see...

the channel two news story? After hearing about the emails, changed reports, etc are you trying to deny that tony bent over and betrayed alaska on the north slope corrosion problem?

wouldn't you normally be outraged by this kind of corruption? It is sad how political ambition corrodes our public life and even you personally straighttalker. Think about it.

  October 27, 2006 - 12:22pm | alaskastraightalker

The story about the disgruntled ex-state employee?

I did see the story. It seems that Sue Harvey (aka truthseeker unless that's Paul Fuhs) quit her job without comment after her DEC bosses reassigned her duties. Her resignation was on the public record, as was her refusal to state her reasons.

She could have publicly stated her reasons for quitting then, or even stayed on the job as a new administration was coming in a few months.

Also, although omitted from the TV story, a contemporaneous newspaper story notes that:
1. various supervisors at DEC, for a number of reasons, made a decision to reassign Ms. Harvey, who decided to quit. There is no mention of Knowles or anyone other than DEC bureaucrats being involved at all.
2. Ms. Harvey came to the DEC in 1999 after working as a Prudhoe Bay engineering supervisor for Arco Alaska Inc.

In that capacity, working for the oil industry itself, she could have assured that things were in tip top shape on the Slope. Why didn't she?

Also, how does someone who supervises engineering for an oil company on the Slope then get a state job regulating her former company? I think that's called the revolving door.

The TV story appears to indicate that the report in question was a draft report. The story does not mention that it is not at all unusual for draft reports to be revised after comments from the public and industry.

The TV story also ignores other facts:

- that a few months before Ms. Harvey quit, Knowles requested nearly $5 million to improve oversight of pipeline safety on the Slope, only to have it be rejected by such luminaries as Robin Taylor.
- even if nothing was done to improve Slope pipeline safety in the last few months of Knowles' time as governor, why were things were "allowed to slide" for 4 more years thereafter, as Lisa Murkowski wondered the other day?
-why Sarah Palin did not bring her skills and experience as chair of the Oil + Gas Commission to bear on the matter, since she was appointed shortly after Ms. Harvey quit amidst news reports on Slope safety.

In any case, it is clear from comments on this blog that a former state employee blaming Knowles for what she feels was lax enforcement by DEC in a way which clearly has the hallmarks of a personal vendetta.

If Ms. Harvey can blame Knowles for all the ills on the Slope, I guess I can blame Ms. Harvey's candidate-Palin- for not fixing the all the problems when she took over the Oil and Gas Commission job.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:30am | realist

It wasn't a new revelation

Was it the Knowles' administration's finest hour? No. Did the administration cave in to pressure? Yes. (Of course, the legislature was much, much more accomodating to industry, so if you're going to start pointing fingers. . .) Were you right and your superiors wrong? Yes. Has every single Alaska governor at some point or another bent over too far backward for the oil industry and other development interests? Yes, even going back to the sainted Ernest Gruening.
No one -- not even Gruening -- has a spotless record. But overall, all things considered, Knowles' record is good, in my opinion. That is especially true considering the very difficult conditions with which he worked, including $9-a-barrel oil. And, as I mentioned previously, he's on the record opposing Teshekpuk Lake oil and gas leasing and he's made a point of not buying into the RDC/Alliance "no-more-wilderness" argument. He also continues to be on record opposing offshore Bristol Bay oil development.
Each of these positions is contrary to what the oil industry wants. They may be contrary to what many pro-development voters want. But it's evidence that he's not 100 percent in line with all oil-industry positions.
I would say that if you really can't stand Knowles for his past compromises with the oil industry, then the right candidate to support is Andrew Halcro, who has shown himself to be pretty uncompromising on his principles. Sarah Palin would not be a strict regulator of industry -- and has said so herself -- as she opposes regulation of industry in principle.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:22am | mike_l


after watching the Tigers lose Game 4 of the World Series last night, I was so depressed that I actually had 2 beers and 3 donuts. This morning I am feeling bloated.

  October 26, 2006 - 11:12pm | wakeup

Less than eleven months

Sarah chaired the Oil and Gas Commission for less than eleven months - maybe for less than ten -but it was a matter of mere months. Perhaps if she'd stayed the course longer, she would have been more effective in her role of providing proper oversight.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:27am | bmcdaniel9

I agree

Who knows why Sarah resigned. There is legal protection for whistle-blowers after all.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:49am | Black3

People keep trying to find something sinister

in her leaving AOGCC, it's not there and the circumstances of her departure are well known. She was very unhappy with the Gov's office's lack of response to her allegations of improper political activity. She chose not to work for the administration any longer. That is really the only choice an appointee has; if you're not comfortable working with an administration, you leave. Sure, whistleblower would give legal protection in qualifying circumstances, but that really is only for career employees who want to live to fight another day in another administration. An appointee serves at the pleasure and you're either comfortable with the administration or you're not. If you're not, the only honorable thing to do is leave, something not enough do, preferring to leak and sabotage.

  October 27, 2006 - 9:17am | mike_l

nothing honorable

in leaving for one's own future political ambitions, at the expense of the party boss.

If you are NOT loyal to your fellow Republican's, don't be begging them for help in November.

Lisa, Ted, and Don are all going out of town, with less than 2 weeks to go. Enough said.

  October 27, 2006 - 9:00am | bmcdaniel9


She has a nice family. I figured maybe she just wanted to be home more.

  October 26, 2006 - 7:30pm | bmcdaniel9

I'm sorry I missed that

At the Egan dinner Tony Knowles recited to us the lyrics to a Leonard Cohen song: "Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows"

Tony Knowles will be a wonderful third-term governor, a governor we can be proud of.

  October 26, 2006 - 6:25pm | realist

Don't know what you mean

I actually caught that debate. There was discussion of timber and mining as much as oil. Knowles told the very pro-development crowd that it would be "foolish" for any governor or would-be governor to guarantee or try to guarantee no more parks or designated wilderness in Alaska. He disputed the claim that ANILCA promised "no more" protected lands in Alaska. Didn't seem to me like a pandering statement, considering the (anti-park, anti-wilderness) crowd.
Knowles also opposes oil exploration in the Teshkepuk Lake area, and is the only candidate to take that specific position, which is in direct opposition to the oil industry's (and Bush administration's) stance. Even Halcro says he hasn't made up his mind on that question.

  8     October 26, 2006 - 3:28pm | bmcdaniel9

Religious Electioneering

I especially appreciated the first question by Mr. Carey. Endorsing candidates from the pulpit is simply a matter of a 1st amendment right to free speech IF that house of worship is not enjoying tax exemptions under the IRS Code's section 501(c)(3) for nonprofits.

Houses of worship and other nonprofits who do rely on the IRS law for tax exemptions are barred from "endorsing or opposing candidates for public office and may not intervene directly or indirectly in partisan campaigns" according to Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

He goes on to state, "Any activity designed to influence the outcome of a partisan election can be construed as intervention." Houses of worship that engage in supporting or opposing candidates or distributing "voter's guides" that are thinly veiled partisan materials are at risk of losing their tax exempt status for breaking the IRS law.

Those who wish to familiarize themselves with the law governing electioneering by churches may visit the IRS Web site at,,id=155030,00.html

  October 26, 2006 - 4:50pm | marty2

While I don't

agree with you on much are CORRECT on this issue.

Preachers, pastors, rabbies, priests, imams, etc. may endorse whomever they will outside of a tax exempt organization. But inside the church, they may not endorse particular candidates.

They may educate on particular issues however. The can encourage their people to vote, they just cannot tell them for whom to vote unless they do it outside the church.

  October 26, 2006 - 7:36pm | bmcdaniel9


I expect that even outside the physical church, if one is representing the church, electioneering would be illegal as well.

I would urge all parishioners who have witnessed such activity and suspect the IRS law is being broken to report to the IRS or contact (Americans United for Separation of Church and State).

  October 27, 2006 - 6:27am | marty2

That would be tough

"I expect that even outside the physical church, if one is representing the church, electioneering would be illegal as well."

Freedom of speech is very important in our country. You can't muzzle a person just because of his/her affiliation with a non-profit. That would certainly tie the hands of a lot of non-profit employees across the country.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:46am | bmcdaniel9

I know

I am well-aware of the thin line one must observe when leading a church or nonprofit organization as well as asserting their right to participate in partisan political activities. Care must be taken that there is no blurring of the line in all communications. When speaking politically, one must make it absolutely clear they are not speaking as a respresentative of the nonprofit or church.

The good news is that, among others, Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting and Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour have experienced audits and retroactive tax payments for some of their political violations of the IRS codes. And that the IRS has promised to step up enforcement this year.

  October 27, 2006 - 8:54am | Black3

I'll get a whole fresh flush of confidence

in those laws when I see them applied to African-American churches and Rev. Jesse Jackson et al. And we could throw in a whole bunch of environmental group and labor backed non-profits as well. The Left loves it when groups they don't like get this sort of scrutiny, but I eagerly await the reaction if any Democrat front group becomes the object of the IRS's affection.

  October 27, 2006 - 9:15am | bmcdaniel9


The biggest news I've heard lately on the subject is over a "liberal" church in Pasadena, All Saints Church, that is waging a legal defense against the IRS. The issue arose over a sermon criticizing Bush's misbegotten war in Iraq.

The Washington Post reported, "I'm very interested to know whether the IRS is taking a look only at churches that are critical of the war in Iraq, or also at the churches that are supportive of the war and the president," said the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr., rector of All Saints.

Personally, I think it is a beneficial law to everyone that should be applied evenly and observed by everybody.

  7     October 26, 2006 - 2:56pm | coldstrings

Knowles and Berkowitz Are Focused

Tony Knowles' responses in the debate showed the experienced focus on the Alaska Gas Pipeline wanted by most Alaskans. Tony's plans on issues, from abortion to subsistence, from health care to education, from early childhood education to the teaching of science, all reflect the desires of most Alaska voters. Tony Knowles is leading from the political center.

Sarah Palin is way off to the far right on predator control, abortion, creationism, sex education, school vouchers, and a host of other divisive issues, many already decided by court decisions. Her lack of knowledge and too extreme conservative 'stands' will have Alaska tied up in unnecessary political fights and court battles while the gas pipeline opportunity withers away.

Tony Knowles and Ethan Berkowitz are the team with the experience to get the Alaska Gas Pipeline built.

  6     October 26, 2006 - 11:12am | steve15

Math lesson

I am happy to see the ADN wrote an editorial about Palin's lack of understanding of the state budget. That is exactly what Halcro was pressing her on last night.

  5     October 26, 2006 - 11:10am | alaskastraightalker

Palin Pandering, or Just Another "Clerical Error"?

Coming from a devoutly religious family, I am personally appalled that Sarah Palin supports the teaching of creationism in public schools. I prefer pastors, priests, and rabbis doing that in the proper forum- churches and synagogues, or private religious schools.

Aside from personal concern, Palin's comment shows either her ignorance of the law and/or her willingness to pander to the right whenever she is given a chance.

In 1987, the US Supreme Court, in a 7-2 majority (that's right, it wasn't just the "liberals"), ruled that it was UNCONSTITUTIONAL for a state to teach creationism along with evolution. The Court found that teaching creationism in public schools impermissibly endorses religion by advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind, and therefore violates the First Amendment.

Since that time, there has been in effort to use the term "intelligent design" instead of "creationism." A federal judge in Pennsylvania, relying on the Supreme Court precedent, recently ruled in a very comprehensive decision that intelligent design "is not science," but rather is a religious theory that had no place in the science classroom.

Palin's position brings back her statements on:

1. Abortion: While she supports prohibiting abortion even in cases of rape or incest, she has repeatedly deferred to the US Supreme Court decision on the matter. Either she follows the rule of law and respects the fact that we have three branches of government, or she doesn't. She can't pick and choose, hiding behind some Supreme Court decisions when it serves her purpose and ignoring others when it doesn't.

2. School vouchers: After pandering to a right wing group by stating that she supported public financing of private and religious schools through the use of vouchers, she told the teachers' union that she was opposed to vouchers, they were unconstitutional, and so on. This became the "clerical error."

3. Sex education: Palin said that, with respect to teaching both creationsim and evolution, that one shouldn't "be afraid of information." Yet she has previously said that she opposes teaching about birth control and other aspects of sex education; rather, the schools should teach abstinence only to high school students. I wonder what happened to "healthy debate is important and it's so valuable in our schools... let kids debate both sides." Sounds like hypocrisy to me.

  4     October 25, 2006 - 11:07pm | tlamb99503

Ball four: Walk

Halcro: Honest answer

Knowles: Politics in Science? And I think evolution is still taught as a theory. And what in the hell did he mean?

"there’s almost incontrovertible evidence that evolution is the science that, that we know"

Palin: Honest answer

I'd hate to see the scientific debate on the Shroud of Turin.........

  October 26, 2006 - 2:46pm | alaskastraightalker

Another Honest Halcro Answer

In Fairbanks Sarah Palin asked Andrew Halcro what had changed from the time when he asked her to run as his running mate- as lt. governor.

Halcro's answer: Nothing’s changed Sarah, I mean, I think you’d be a FABULOUS Lt. Governor! And I still today think you are the most qualified Lt. Governor up here at this table.

  October 26, 2006 - 8:13pm | Loquitur


Ha! Good one Andrew! (Isn't he great?)

  October 26, 2006 - 12:00am | coldstrings

Biology is in Transition

At the biochemical and cellular level, evolution is taught as fact. Today, we use this understanding and associated technology to make, for example, recombinant DNA drugs. Alaskans taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis, for example, benefit from this knowledge every day. At the level of organisms, the fundamental principles of evolution are accepted, with continuing scientific debate over mechanisms and influences. The evolutionary understanding of biology is fundamental and accepted.

My kids, now in grad school, were taught about creationism in Comparative Religion classes, in Anthropology. In the same class, they received great introductions to many of the world religions to which they had not been exposed.

As our future Governor, Tony Knowles does not want far-right creationism politics wasting our time and money, as in Pennsylvania. I concur.

If you want creationism and evolution mixed in the same classroom, then homeschool, or send your kids to a church school.

  3     October 25, 2006 - 10:33pm | coldstrings

Knowles cited

Father Michael Oleksa, of the Russian Orthodox Church.

  October 26, 2006 - 10:39pm | Peggy_A

Father Michael Oleksa

You're right coldstrings, it was an extremely moving quote. I wish you would post it.

  October 27, 2006 - 7:53am | coldstrings

Father Michael Oleksa, August, 2001

From an ADN opinion piece, reported to have been published August 20, 2001, by Steve Lindbeck.

"There was an exquisite moment Thursday morning at the Governor's Subsistence Leadership Summit when Dick Bishop of the Alaska Outdoor Council maintained, not for the first time, that survival was not at stake for rural villagers -- that, difficult though it might be, they would not starve without subsistence foods on the table.

Gently but oh-so-clearly, the Rev. Michael Oleksa said it was indeed a
matter of life and death: "I think here we are dealing with maybe the most serious disagreement on subsistence before us," he said. "People may not die of starvation because subsistence is not provided for them. But they will die emotionally, spiritually and ultimately physically."

That was the only applause line in two long days of talking at the summit. The emotional lift in the room was palpable. But it was not the exquisite moment.

The exquisite moment came with the next several speakers, who "got
it" very clearly. Jim Sampson of Fairbanks said, "I couldn't agree more." Archbishop-Emeritus Francis Hurley of Anchorage called subsistence "integral" to rural life. Guide Rob Holt of Talkeetna, who wrestled visibly with the issues for two days, said he believed that without a relationship with the land, Alaska Natives "would be a soulless people." The rest of the room was filled with nods of recognition."

The proceedings of the 2001 Subsistence Leadership Summit are available at the Alaska State Library.

  October 27, 2006 - 12:14pm | rfn

A pity

It's really sad that Fr. Oleksa cannot...and probably never would, if he a candidate for governor.

I have had first-hand experience with his wisdom though I'm sure he has no reason to remember me.

Not everyone would agree with every decision but few could doubt that each decision was made with care and even handedness.

Makes all three contenders look pretty shabby.

  2     October 25, 2006 - 9:34pm | mike_l

what Mike says

if you want religion, go to church, go to Sunday school, go to bible study. But it doesn't belong in the public schools.

Why Palin would go on record as being supportive of something that is unconstitutional, is beyond me. Just chalk it up to another stupid statement? I guess she didn't pay attention in conservative Pennsylvania to what happened to the entire school board in Dover that endorsed Intelligent Design. All eight members up for re-election to the Dover, Pa, school board that was sued for introducing 'intelligent design' to biology curriculum were swept out of office by challengers. Then Pat Robertson came on TV and said disaster may strike there as punishment from God for voting out the board members who supported Intelligent Design.
CRAZY people. Crazy Concept. UNCONSTITUTIONAL. And yet another reason NOT to vote for the girl in Wasilla. I guess her issues coordinator didn't expect that question.
"Don't be afraid to give kids information" and let them debate it -she says. Well then we should start handing out condoms to all middle school students, instruct them all on safe-sex, and provide information on abortion services to any pregnant teen. I agree -let the information go forth -and let the kids decide. I agree with Palin on this issue.

  October 26, 2006 - 7:48pm | bmcdaniel9

No Surprise

Sarah and other Valley politicos are selected from Wasilla radical right church congregations and groomed to get into political office and promote the religious right agenda.

Isn't that common knowledge?

  October 26, 2006 - 8:18pm | Loquitur


Everybody knows that... right?

  October 26, 2006 - 8:41pm | heman

yah every one but me.

yah every one but me.

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