Commentary

UVALDE, TX - MAY 24: Members of the community gather at the City of Uvalde Town Square for a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, 19 students and 2 adults were killed before the gunman was fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

National gun control fails after mass shootings, but states often loosen gun laws

BY: - May 26, 2022

Calls for new gun legislation that previously failed to pass Congress are being raised again after the May 24 mass shooting at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. An 18-year-old shooter killed at least 19 fourth grade students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, marking the deadliest school shooting in […]

Historic colorized photograph of Old Faithful geyser and Old Faithful Inn. Originally, the shingle roofing of the Old Faithful Inn was painted red with a material thought to be a fire retardant. Today, the shingles have a natural wood finish. (Courtesy of wikicommons)

How to enjoy ‘parkitecture’ in Yellowstone National Park

BY: - May 25, 2022

Visitors to many national parks in the U.S. notice and enjoy the iconic buildings made with local materials. These structures are so unique that the style of architecture has its own nickname — “Parkitecture.” But where did this style come from, and how has it persevered over the last century in Yellowstone National Park? The […]

Legislators ponder next step for PFD after one of biggest in history

BY: - May 24, 2022

At the end of this year’s legislative session, Alaskans were teased with different possibilities for the amount of annual payments: first the $2,600 the House passed, then the $5,500 the Senate passed, then a possible compromise of $3,800. The final amount – $3,200 – is less.  But it still includes the largest Permanent Fund dividend […]

KIVALINA, ALASKA - SEPTEMBER 17: A section of an embankment is seen where due to permafrost melt the dirt wall collapsed on September 17, 2019 near Kivalina, Alaska. Permafrost which is found to some extent beneath nearly 85 percent of Alaska has been melting due to earths rising temperatures. Reports indicate that as the permafrost melts, it releases carbon dioxide which adds to the greenhouse gas effect that continues to warm the planet. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape

BY: - May 23, 2022

Across the Arctic, strange things are happening to the landscape. Massive lakes, several square miles in size, have disappeared in the span of a few days. Hillsides slump. Ice-rich ground collapses, leaving the landscape wavy where it once was flat, and in some locations creating vast fields of large, sunken polygons. It’s evidence that permafrost, […]

LAKE POWELL, UTAH - JUNE 24: In this aerial view, Low water levels are visible at Lake Powell on June 24, 2021 in Lake Powell, Utah. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average flow of water is expected to flow through the Colorado River Basin into two of its biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Lake Powell is currently at 34.56 percent of capacity, a historic low. The lake stands at 138.91 feet below full pool and has dropped 44 feet in the past year. The Colorado River Basin supplies water to 40 million people in seven western states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hydropower’s future is clouded by droughts, floods and climate change

BY: and - May 19, 2022

The water in Lake Powell, one of the nation’s largest reservoirs, has fallen so low amid the Western drought that federal officials are resorting to emergency measures to avoid shutting down hydroelectric power at the Glen Canyon Dam. The Arizona dam, which provides electricity to seven states, isn’t the only U.S. hydropower plant in trouble. […]

This painting illustrates Russian oligarch and former Chukotka Gov. Roman Abramovich being greeted to the remote Russian Far East region by local Native peoples. The photo was taken in Chukotka's capital of Anadyr in 2018. (Photo by David Ramseur)

Recalling the Alaska ties of oligarch in Russia-Ukraine talks

BY: - May 18, 2022

In early March about two weeks after Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s deadly attack on Ukraine, a shy, soft-spoken Jewish orphan named Roman Abramovich arrived in Kyiv on a special mission: try to initiate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.  For most Americans, the 55-year-old Abramovich is just one of a long string of rich […]

Ciricahua Apache students at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania in the 1880s, after four months at the school. (Library of Congress photo)

Russia’s reported abduction of Ukrainian children echoes other genocidal policies

BY: - May 17, 2022

Allegations have emerged recently that Ukrainian children are being forcibly removed from their country by Russia. Once there, they are put up for adoption.  These tactics are horrific, but far from rare. There is a long history of military aggressors forcibly transferring enemy children from their home countries as a means of sowing chaos and […]

No easy formula. (Stefani Reynolds | AFP via Getty Images)

Here’s what’s behind the U.S. infant formula shortage

BY: - May 16, 2022

A baby formula shortage has added to the woes of American parents already confronted with the pressures of raising an infant during a pandemic in a country ranked low for family-friendly policies. Media reports have highlighted the plight of mothers, fathers, and caregivers across the U.S. who have scrambled to find scarce supplies, or driven […]

LANSING, MI - JANUARY 06: Donald Trump Supporters march around the Michigan State Capitol Building to protest the certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States on January 6, 2021 in Lansing, Michigan. Trump supporters gathered at state capitals across the country to protest today's ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

Misinformation is deadly. What are we going to do about it?

BY: - May 13, 2022

Misinformation kills humans and democracy. All of us have some responsibility for this serious threat to society. All of us are affected by it, regardless of whether we use social media. And all of us need to do something about it.

Volunteers unfurl a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall Oct. 20, 2010, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images).

What the Founders meant by ‘virtue,’ and how it could save our politics now

BY: - May 12, 2022

Writing in his diary in the spring of 1759, John Adams mused aloud on the images that were likely to run through his head as he found himself lapsing into a thoughtful mood. “In such silent scenes, as riding or walking thro the Woods or sitting alone in my Chamber, or lying awake in my Bed, my Thoughts […]

Downtown Juneau catches light from the sunset on May 6, 2022. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Alaska Beacon launches with the goal of a better-informed state

BY: - May 11, 2022

The Beacon aims to serve as a watchdog, looking out for how public dollars are being spent and public needs are being met.

U.S Supreme Court, courtesy photo.

The Supreme Court shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy

BY: - May 11, 2022

All segments of the ideological spectrum seem to concur that the secrecy of the high court’s decision-making process — including its deliberations — is sacrosanct. But should it be?