Alaska’s First Income Tax

The following opinion piece was originally published in the Alaska Dispatch News. Let’s pretend I was able to license this amazing photo of Ernest Gruening and include it with the commentary.

grueningIncome taxes are unpopular, but after reading up on our history, I am strongly in favor of one for us today. An income tax is important to our state’s social health and budgetary diversity, it’s a mark of ownership and a declaration of independence from outside influence.

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005 – Fairbanks Four, Part 2

Fairbanks Four part 2

Hello Alaska! In this episode we wrap up our discussion on the Fairbanks Four, a group of young men who were recently released after 18 years in prison for a murder they said they didn’t commit. We’ll talk about the critical testimony that helped put them away, why it had its problems and how this case fits in with other recent notable innocence project efforts.

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004 – Fairbanks Four, Part 1

Fairbanks Four Part 1

Hello Alaska! In this episode we start talking about the story of the Fairbanks Four, a group of young men who were convicted of killing a teenager on a street corner in downtown Fairbanks. The four, three are Alaska Native, have always argued their innocence, arguing that racial bias and police misconduct put them away.

Warning: This episode contains both graphic descriptions of a murder and spoilers. 

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I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl

You know that catchy little ba-da-bump da-da-bump theme music at the beginning of every show? I bet you’re wondering why it’s so iconic and familiar and lovely.

It’s because we swiped it from a jazzy instrumental version of I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl by Marian Call.

It was an easy decision to use for our tiny sized theme music, Marian is a brilliant songwriter and one of my favorite human beings on this earth. Also, she lives with me, so negotiating a license was cake.

“Oh, it’s easy to see why a local woman’s in demand.”

I particularly love how Real Alaskan Girl playfully cuts into the outsider’s dilemma and openly asks what it means to be a Real Alaskan. When have I frozen my toes enough? When have I donated enough blood to mosquitoes? How many boxes of Pilot Bread must I eat? It’s a measure beyond citizenship, the Real Alaskan, a blend of clichés and rites of passage along with the odd northern misfortune thrown in for good measure.

The Alaska identity is simultaneously an elusive notion and concrete set of rules. It’s a story written by environment and art, politics and principles. Everyday we give that story its shape.

I love it.

003 – The Future Belongs to the Bold


Hello Alaska! This episode we take a long walk through Frank Ameduri’s many pointed letter of resignation. Ameduri served as Communications Director for the Alaska Senate Minority and his unexpected departure caused quite a stir.

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