Thumbs up, thumbs down for Monday, Feb. 10

Thumbs up to the stalemate between the Juneau School District and the teachers’ union finally ending. According to a report last week, a special meeting was held Thursday where the Board of Education approved an agreement made in January with the Juneau Education Association resulting in a new two-year contract for teachers which will increase pay and benefits. Thumbs down, however, to the fact it took roughly 18 months of contentious negotiations to come to an agreement. In the future, we hope handshakes come swifter. For details of the agreement check out: http://juneauempire.com/local/2014-02-09/jea-school-district-agree-new-c....

Thumbs up to Wearable Art 2014. More than 40 artists participated in this year’s event, themed “Technicolor,” and raised money for the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. There is some serious talent in Juneau, and this past weekend of beautiful and unexpected fashion was a reminder of that.

Thumbs up to Anna E. Cramer for being named a runner-up in a winter-themed photo contest hosted by Yahoo! News and Flickr. According to a Sunday article in the Neighbors section, Cramer’s photo of Douglas Island, titled “Winter Sun,” was among four runners up. “Placid Coyote,” by David Renwald, took home the first prize. More than 700 photos were submitted for the contest. Find a link to Cramer’s photo and all the finalists in this story: http://juneauempire.com/neighbors/2014-02-09/cramer-finalist-national-wi....

Thumbs down to the Ukrainian man who tried to hijack a Turkey-bound commercial airline and divert it to Sochi on the day of the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony. Yet a thumbs up to the crew, who managed to trick the hijacker and instead landed the plane safely in Istanbul where the man was subdued by security officers who snuck aboard the aircraft.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

Outside Editorial: If Trump really wants to ‘drain the swamp,’ here’s his chance

Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission who resigned earlier this month, has given President Donald Trump a golden opportunity to prove he meant what he said on the campaign trail about the corrosive influence of big-money donors on elections.

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Tue, 02/28/2017 - 08:23

My Turn: Does Alaska have a spending problem? Benchmarking is the answer

The governor, some in the Legislature and even some prominent Alaskans don’t believe Alaska has a spending problem. They say that Alaska has a revenue problem and argue that Alaska needs to implement more revenue options, i.e. taking your money to fuel big government. Their tired refrain is simply to argue, “you can’t cut your way to prosperity.” On the contrary, we all know that you can’t spend your way to prosperity! Read more

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Mental health patients have rights

In the state’s ongoing effort to manage the rising costs of treating the disabled, it is the disabled who pay the price. In too many cases, there is no state standard of care for the disabled, even in regulations; when the state wants to save money, the first and easiest place is to encourage private facilities to reduce the quality of care and treatment for disabled psychiatric patients.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 20:01

My Turn: Trump’s looming assault on the separation of church and state

The president’s recent spate of executive orders; the continuing debate surrounding his immigration ban; the fallout resulting from his contentious interactions with two of our most trusted allies (Australia and Mexico); and his shocking defense of Vladimir Putin, a criminal, dictator and human rights violator, succeeded in deflecting attention from his fiery pronouncement to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. What the distractions failed accomplish, however, was diminishing the importance of safeguarding the principle of the separation of church and state.

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