National gun control fails after mass shootings, but states often loosen gun laws
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 […]
How to enjoy ‘parkitecture’ in Yellowstone National Park
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
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 […]
Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape
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, […]
Hydropower’s future is clouded by droughts, floods and climate change
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. […]
Recalling the Alaska ties of oligarch in Russia-Ukraine talks
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 […]
Russia’s reported abduction of Ukrainian children echoes other genocidal policies
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 […]
Here’s what’s behind the U.S. infant formula shortage
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 […]
Misinformation is deadly. What are we going to do about it?
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.
What the Founders meant by ‘virtue,’ and how it could save our politics now
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 […]
The Alaska Beacon launches with the goal of a better-informed state
The Beacon aims to serve as a watchdog, looking out for how public dollars are being spent and public needs are being met.
The Supreme Court shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy
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?