Thursday, July 31, 2014

The End of Thermidor

I'd always thought that the names of the calendar months were kind of odd since they had so little to do with the seasons. So the other day I read that July was called Thermidor in the old French revolutionary calendar. I figured that unlike the metric system, the French actually had a good idea for once. While their calendar never caught on, the name, which means heat in Greek, is a great name for July, since on the average, it's the hottest month of the year in interior Alaska.
Except this year, not so much. Unlike last summer when we set the record for the most days above 80°F, this summer has been cool and rainy. We set a record for the most rain in June and July, so far, is second on on the list. So now it's the end of a very unThermidor-like July and we're hoping for a warm, dry August.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vote No on 1?

The commercial airwaves, TV and radio, have been bombarded for the last year or so with ads paid for by the oil companies to vote no on ballot proposition 1. This is the citizen initiative to to repeal the latest revision of the oil tax law, known as SB 21. While I'm no expert on taxes, or anything else for that matter, my impression of how this law was passed was the all too usual legislative procedure. A bunch of lobbyist's, in this case for the oil companies, descend on Juneau and spend as much money as possible trying to influence the vote.
It's interesting to note that the bill only passed by a single vote in the state senate and that two senators who worked for the oil companies were allowed to vote for it. And our fine governor, a former lobbyist for the oil companies himself, was quick to sign it into law. It's kind of ironic that the tax law that SB 21 replaces, termed ACES, was championed by our former half term governor who hailed it as a major improvement in Alaska tax policy. Perhaps if she'd stayed governor for more than two years, this whole tax fiasco could've been avoided. Despite my inherent dislike for anything associated with Palin, it's unlikely I'll vote no on 1. More information from Alaska Dispatch at:
http://www.adn.com/article/20140714/oil-tax-debate-revolves-around-dueling-statistics-and-how-they-should-be
Another opinion:  http://www.adn.com/article/20140726/lack-information-reason-enough-repeal-so-called-oil-tax-reform
(You'll have to copy and paste into your browser.)