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I always bomb when it comes to presentations – and it’s starting to hurt my career

Mon, 2018-08-13 13:42

I'm totally intimidated when I stand up in front of a group to give a presentation.

On a good day, a jolt of adrenaline hits me and I speed-talk. On bad days, I open my mouth and nothing comes out. When I finally get started, my thoughts come out jumbled and I forget key sections of what I planned to say. If I'm put on the spot by someone asking a simple question to which I should know the answer, I freeze, making it appear I'm incompetent.

Unfortunately, my job increasingly calls for me to give presentations. My manager has let me know that if I don't improve, I'll get a needs improvement in this area and lose not only on a bonus but possibly a chance for promotion as the expectation of managers in our company is that we be able to present our projects and programs to other groups within the company.

I'm scheduled for one tomorrow. I fear it will be a disaster and need some help.

A: Instead of focusing on what might go wrong, plan what you want to say. Is it important? If so, get over yourself. This change in focus can help you ahead of time by short-circuiting how much time you spend worrying about your jitters and becomes your best strategy for giving a great presentation. Much of a scared presenter's nervousness stems from wondering if he or she'll do well and be able to handle all the questions asked. By concentrating totally on the audience and forgetting yourself you can at least partially forget your worries.

After you've planned what you want to say and in the safety of your own office or home, give your presentation to your office mate or partner, your pup or yourself in front of the mirror at least three to five times. These pre-presentations help, because when you stand up in front of the group, you'll have multiple presentations under your belt.

Also, if you're imagining the worst about your audience – that they'll be a sea of blank or skeptical faces with arms crossed — stop. Audiences hope you'll have something to say and will say it effectively. If you don't believe this, imagine you're in the audience and someone else is presenting. Would you rather the presenter be great or a bomb? Every audience hopes those who present can do so effectively.

Next, pre-emptively provide an antidote to the adrenaline jolt you fear. When under stress, your body instinctively reacts as though it's threatened. Starting about 30 minutes before your speech, adrenaline begins coursing through your bloodstream. You may feel your heart pounding, your muscles tightening and your breathing and perspiration rates increasing. You can process this excess adrenaline by walking. Find every opportunity to walk down the hallway, around the room or make a quick strategic exit to the restroom.

When we stand up to speak, our breathing also becomes rapid and shallow and it becomes more difficult to pull information from memory. This relationship between shallow breathing and memory explains why you space information you know. It's the same as what happens when you meet someone on the street and can't remember the name and then walk off, and the name suddenly pops into your brain. By walking off, you began breathing more deeply. Just before you stand up to speak, concentrate on slowing and deepening your breathing to combat your increasing tension.

Whenever someone asks you a question, use the pause before you answer to slow your breathing and you'll give better answers. You may also want to bring a short information sheet to accompany your presentation as a handout, to facilitate answers to expected questions. To your group, this becomes a bonus. For you, it's a useful crutch.

Finally, if your chance for a promotion depends on a skill you lack, consider finding a personal coach or a group that offers the training you need. When you invest in yourself, it pays off.

[When a new supervisor clashes with long-term employees, whose side to take?]

[How to recover when an office confrontation turns into the showdown at the O.K. Corral]

steve slideshowtest – 2

Mon, 2018-08-13 12:58

Photos: Best of July 2018

Mon, 2018-08-13 12:35

Anchorage Daily News photographers and contributors capture slices of life around Anchorage and beyond.

How Google tracks your movements, like it or not

Mon, 2018-08-13 10:38

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP's request.

For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a "timeline" that maps out your daily movements.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company will let you "pause" a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's support page on the subject states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

That isn't true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It's possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square foot — and save it to your Google account.

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google's Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

Storing location data in violation of a user's preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer's lab confirmed the AP's findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

"If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off," Mayer said. "That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have."

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

"There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. "We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time."

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called "Web and App Activity" and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline," its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.

FILE - In this June 15, 2017, photo, people walk inside the Oculus, the new transit station at the World Trade Center in New York. Data collection practices of tech firms are increasingly under the microscope. An Associated Press investigation shows that using Google services on Android devices and iPhones allows the search giant to record your whereabouts as you go about your day. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) (Frank Franklin II/)

You can see the stored location markers on a page in your Google account at, although they’re typically scattered under several different headers, many of which are unrelated to location.

To demonstrate how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.

The map includes Acar's train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell's Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn't plot the most telling and frequent marker — his home address.

Huge tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over their data practices, following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.

Critics say Google's insistence on tracking its users' locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.

"They build advertising information out of data," said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. "More data for them presumably means more profit."

The AP learned of the issue from K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners. She noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl's, even though she had turned Location History off.

"So how did Google Maps know where I was?" she asked in a blog post .

The AP wasn't able to recreate Shankari's experience exactly. But its attempts to do so revealed Google's tracking. The findings disturbed her.

"I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle," she said. "It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated."

Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you'd only see if you turn it off — a popup that appears when you "pause" Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps."

Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the "Web & App Activity" setting — an uncommon action for many users, since this setting is on by default. That popup states that, when active, the setting "saves the things you do on Google sites, apps, and services ... and associated information, like location."

Warnings when you're about to turn Location History off via Android and iPhone device settings are more difficult to interpret. On Android, the popup explains that "places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map." On the iPhone, it simply reads, "None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History."

The iPhone text is technically true if potentially misleading. With Location History off, Google Maps and other apps store your whereabouts in a section of your account called "My Activity," not "Location History."

Since 2014, Google has let advertisers track the effectiveness of online ads at driving foot traffic , a feature that Google has said relies on user location histories.

The company is pushing further into such location-aware tracking to drive ad revenue, which rose 20 percent last year to $95.4 billion. At a Google Marketing Live summit in July, Google executives unveiled a new tool called "local campaigns" that dynamically uses ads to boost in-person store visits. It says it can measure how well a campaign drove foot traffic with data pulled from Google users' location histories.

Google also says location records stored in My Activity are used to target ads. Ad buyers can target ads to specific locations — say, a mile radius around a particular landmark — and typically have to pay more to reach this narrower audience.

While disabling "Web & App Activity" will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. That can limit the effectiveness of the Google Assistant, the company's digital concierge.

Sean O’Brien, a Yale Privacy Lab researcher with whom the AP shared its findings, said it is “disingenuous” for Google to continuously record these locations even when users disable Location History. “To me, it’s something people should know,” he said.

People on the Peninsula: The RV crowd

Mon, 2018-08-13 09:34

The Kenai Peninsula comes alive during summer. Tourists, fishermen, seasonal workers and year-round residents share highways and harbors from Homer to Seward. ADN's Tegan Hanlon and Marc Lester recently spent a week meeting some of the people who make the Peninsula unique. Over the next few days, we'll be publishing more than 20 of their stories.

RVs fill hundreds of spots along Seward’s waterfront on June 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

SEWARD — This scenic city of about 2,700 year-round residents comes alive in the summer.

Tens of thousands of campers cycle through, transforming seaside campgrounds into tiny, temporary communities with hundreds of tents and RVs. All kinds of people crowd the area, drawn for all kinds of reasons.

Here are some of their stories.

The campground host

Tim Foster has been camping in Seward since he was a child. Now he’s a campground host who stays in an RV with his dogs for several months each year. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Tim Foster's cancer diagnosis changed his priorities.

"That's a real eye-opener," said Foster, a longtime Alaska resident. "When you think you're invincible all your life and then someone tells you you have cancer. You think, 'How can that be?'"

Foster underwent a radical prostatectomy. Then he started spending more time outside. He had retired about 10 years earlier from a 30-year-career at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport where he worked as the chief of airport safety. "I wasn't enjoying Alaska as much as I should have," he said.

Foster decided to return to Seward for the summers. As a child, his parents had taken him to the same shores to fish and camp. When he became a parent himself, he brought his children here to do the same.

Then two years ago, Foster took a job as one of Seward's volunteer campground hosts. He stays in his RV with his two Papillons, Angel and Tré, from May to September. He oversees the 50 or so RV spots in his area.

Seward campground host Tim Foster camps with his two Papillon dogs, Angel and Tré. (Marc Lester / ADN)

"We meet so many nice people," he said. "We get people from Europe, from Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France — you name it, they've come here."

In front of Foster's RV, two handmade benches flank a steel fire pit, just across a walkway from the rocky beaches of Resurrection Bay. He has also set up tall pieces of driftwood with flags for the United States, Canada, Alaska and the Green Bay Packers.

"This is my living room," Foster said. "The whales are here. The sea lions come in."

Tim Foster became a campground host in Seward two years ago. His wife, Mickey, often visits on weekends during the months he camps. Photographed June 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Compared to his job in airport management, he said, the gig as a campground host "is a cakewalk." There's no real drama or fights or rowdiness. The biggest commotion he remembers is the time a very large sea otter meandered out of the water, drawing a big crowd.

"This guy would come out like he owned the entire beach," he said. "You never know what you're going to see here."

The retiree

Gene Smith, from Montara, California, camped in Seward as part of a four-month road trip on June 22, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Gene Smith keeps his plans pretty loose. That's the beauty of having time and an RV, he said.

He might occasionally make a campground reservation a day in advance, but he has a generator and can make do on his own. If he isn't impressed with the RV park or isn't fond of his neighbors, he simply moves along.

"I have a general idea where I want to go, but as far as dates or anything like that? No," he said.

Smith, from Montara, California, retired from a career with Xerox when he was 58. Now 74, he camps as much as possible in a 35-foot fifth-wheel. Last year he circled the Lower 48, with stops in Texas, Maine, Michigan and North Dakota.

He and his wife of 40 years have been working their way north since April, pausing to visit his kids, his grandkids and his great-grandkid. Sometimes they worry about him, but he's got a cellphone with good coverage. He keeps in touch.

Children play by the Resurrection Bay coastline in Seward as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Radiance of the Seas departs on June 22, 2018. The ship traveled Southeast Alaska toward its destination, Vancouver, B.C.(Marc Lester / ADN)

This is his first visit to Alaska, and the scenery has impressed him. Restaurant costs? Not so much.

"Your RV parks are not bad, but your food prices … You go out to get a hamburger and it starts at $14," he said as he worked on fixing a flat bicycle tire. "Give me a break."

Smith achieved a life goal on this visit to Alaska: He walked on a glacier. In future travels, he wants to experience a technology he thinks might allow older people to retain some independence when the day comes that they no longer drive.

Smith said he'll be happy if he can keep his RV travel up for another six or seven years. His next stop was Homer.

The ironic campers

Julie Morris, left, and Rachel Mulvihill sip wine on an air mattress in the back of an SUV in a Seward campground on June 22, 2018. The friends, from the Seattle area, were on a long weekend trip to Alaska, where Morris grew up. (Marc Lester / ADN)

You could hear them before you could see them.

Julie Morris, 29, and Rachel Mulvihill, 30, erupted into laughter while tucked into the back of an SUV.

The friends, who live in the Seattle area, couldn't find an affordable RV to rent for just one night, so they did the best with what they had: a Ford Escape and the decor from Morris' childhood home in Wasilla.

"We wanted to rent a camper van but there's a three-night minimum, so we turned her car into an ironic camper van," Mulvihill said as she reclined on a partially deflated air mattress.

Morris and Mulvihill were on a five-day trip to Alaska, where Morris grew up. They drove to Seward that morning to hike Mount Marathon, but rain derailed their plans. They went to Exit Glacier instead and now had more time in their makeshift RV that, with its trunk open, had a view of Resurrection Bay.

The women's laughter continued as they gave a tour of their temporary home. The house plant. The warm bottle of white wine in the tall wooden basket. The shelf that doubled as a card table. The sheet that doubled as a curtain. Every throw pillow Morris' parents own.

"We were hoping to find some macrame that we could dangle outside," Mulvihill said. "But this is all we've got."

The Palmer weekenders

Cindy and Larry Judd, from Palmer, and their 3-year-old dog Gizmo camped in an RV in Seward on June 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Cindy caught Larry's eye when she worked with his sister. Larry used to come around to visit.

"Maybe I should go over there a little more often," he remembered thinking. Eventually, his sister made the introduction.

"We were at Costco," Cindy said. "I met him by the beef jerky."

On a recent morning, the couple walked through Seward's RV campground together with matching coffee mugs. Larry has been an RV camper for 20 years, he said.

"I was kind of a tent camper until I met him," Cindy said. "Now I kind of like my amenities."

Often strangers stop to chat when they're sitting by a campfire on the Seward beach. Sometimes those strangers become friends when they return night after night to swap stories. The couple from Palmer sold their camper last spring, but it wasn't long before they craved another one.

"We wanted something a little different, a little bigger, to have a couch to socialize with," Larry said.

The family

Ryan Shaver, right, talks with his 3-year-old son, Liam, by the water in Seward at left. Jessica Shaver reaches for 1-year-old Rinette, on June 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Ryan Shaver had to wait for it, but he and his family eventually scored what he called the best RV spot in Alaska. They had spent the previous evening farther inland hoping a waterfront spot like this would open up.

"I guess that's why you have an RV," he said. "You can sleep anywhere."

Ryan and Jessica Shaver met in pharmacy school in North Carolina. They bought their RV for their move from Texas to Anchorage so Ryan could take an Air Force job at the hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. They took 30 days to make the trip, winding through Canada on the way.

The Shaver family dogs, Ali Bears, left, and Geppetto, wait by the family’s RV on June 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Nowadays, trips in the RV include their kids, Liam, 3, and Rinette, 1, and their two dogs, Geppetto, a Dalmatian, and Ali Bears, a Weimaraner.

Jessica said Liam's ears perk up whenever there's talk of a family RV road trip.

"He knows that he's going to get s'mores at night," she said.

Meet more people on the Peninsula 

FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump texts

Mon, 2018-08-13 07:44

Peter Strzok during a joint House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform Committees hearing in Washington on July 12, 2018. Bloomberg photo by Andrew Harrer. (Andrew Harrer/)

WASHINGTON - The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts.

Aitan Goelman, Strzok's lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday - even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI's repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.

"This isn't the normal process in any way more than name," Goelman said.

The FBI declined to comment.

The termination marks a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. In the twilight of his career, Strzok was integral to two of the bureau's most high-profile investigations: the Russia case, and the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state.

But when a Justice Department inspector general investigation uncovered politically charged messages that Strzok had exchanged with another FBI official, he was relegated to a position in human resources. Conservatives soon made Strzok the face of their attacks against the special counsel investigation into the president's campaign, and the FBI took steps to remove him from its ranks.

Strzok's position in the bureau had been precarious since last summer, when Inspector General Michael Horowitz told Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the lead agent on his team had been exchanging anti-Trump messages with an FBI lawyer. The next day, Mueller expelled Strzok from the group.

The lawyer, Lisa Page, had also been a part of Mueller's team, though she left a few weeks earlier and no longer works for the FBI. She and Strzok were having an affair.

President Donald Trump has derided the pair as "FBI lovers," and he and his conservative allies have pointed to their conduct in an attempt to discredit the Mueller probe. As recently as Saturday, Trump tweeted an attack on Strzok, Page and former FBI director James B. Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe.

"Will the FBI ever recover it's once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired?" Trump wrote. "So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!"

Horowitz concluded that Strzok showed a "willingness to take official action" to hurt Trump's electoral prospects, particularly in a text he sent telling Page "we'll stop" Trump from being president.

Strzok, who was a deputy assistant director for counterintelligence at the bureau, has apologized for sending the messages and said they reflected personal views that did not affect his work. His lawyer has said that had Strzok wanted to prevent Trump's election, he could have leaked that Trump's campaign was under investigation for possibly coordinating with Russia - a revelation that might have upended his bid to become president.

At a congressional hearing earlier this month, Strzok sparred with Republican lawmakers who raised questions about his character and even his marriage. He asserted there was "no evidence of bias in my professional actions" and that his having to testify was "just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart."

Strzok was escorted out of the FBI building in June and effectively relieved of work responsibilities, though he technically remained an FBI employee as he and his attorney challenged the effort to dismiss him. On July 24, they made a final pitch to Candice Will, who leads the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility.

Goelman said Will ultimately decided that Strzok face a demotion and 60-day suspension and be subjected to a "last chance agreement." That would have put him on thin ice if he were commit another offense. But Goelman said Bowdich overruled that decision and ordered Strzok's termination.

During a June congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Strzok had been referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility - which he referred to as the bureau's "independent disciplinary arm" - and that officials would "not hesitate to hold people strictly accountable." Wray promised that process would be "done by the book."

Strzok is the third high-ranking FBI official involved in the Clinton and Russia investigations to be fired amid an intensely political backdrop. Trump removed Comey as the bureau's director and said he did so thinking of the Russia case. Attorney General Jeff Sessions later removed Comey's deputy, McCabe, after the inspector general alleged he lied about a media disclosure related to Clinton.

McCabe - who, unlike Comey, could not be removed at the will of the president - has said his termination was a politically motivated attempt to undermine the Mueller probe. He is currently facing a criminal investigation by prosecutors in the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office.

It is possible that others could yet face discipline. The inspector general identified five FBI employees, including Strzok and Page, with some connection to the Clinton email case who had exchanged messages expressing hostility toward Trump, support for Clinton or other political views. Each was referred to the FBI for possible violations of the bureau’s code of conduct.

Education advocate aiming to unseat longtime Alaska Rep. Don Young

Mon, 2018-08-13 07:27

In this Aug. 5, 2018, photo, independent U.S. House candidate Alyse Galvin, center, speaks during a meet-and-greet at a tea shop in Juneau, Alaska. Galvin is running in the Aug. 21 Democratic primary for U.S. House in Alaska. The state Democratic party changed its rules to let independents run in its primary. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU — When Alyse Galvin ran into resistance from some state legislators in a fight over school funding, she didn't give up. She got a loudspeaker.

In 2017, the activist, along with other worried moms, helped gather hundreds of letters from Alaskans urging legislators not to cut school funding amid a state budget deficit. The letters were read on the Capitol steps during an hours-long event — replete with props — that Galvin helped organize.

When a budget finally passed two months later, schools were fully funded. One legislator says the persistence of Galvin's organization, Great Alaska Schools, made a difference.

It's that tenacity that supporters say will serve Galvin, a familiar face at the Capitol, well if she accomplishes her next goal: election to the U.S. House.

The independent is seeking the Democratic nomination and a chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Don Young, a Republican who has held the office for 45 years. If elected, Galvin would be the first woman to hold Alaska's lone House seat.

Her opponents in the Aug. 21 primary are Democrats Dimitri Shein and Carol Hafner, who does not live in Alaska, and independent Christopher Cumings. Young is expected to win his primary.

[Russian immigrant seeks Democratic nomination for Alaska's U.S. House seat]

Of her primary opponents, Shein has been the most active, pushing an agenda that includes Medicare for all. He said he's bothered by Galvin's ties to the oil and gas industry: her husband, Pat Galvin, is an executive with Great Bear Petroleum.

Galvin said she wants to diversify a state economy that relies largely on oil and see greater investment in renewable energy. She said she supports responsible resource development and that more needs to be done in response to climate change. Both she and her husband, a Democrat who served as state revenue commissioner during then-Gov. Sarah Palin's administration, drive hybrid Priuses.

But she's the candidate, she notes — not her husband. "I'm my own person. … Anybody who knows me knows that."

In college in California, Galvin trained to be an opera singer but found it "a little bit self-serving," so she switched her focus to political science. Her background includes work in fish processing, managing a hotel and volunteering with Great Alaska Schools.

Alison Arians, who worked with Galvin on Great Alaska Schools, said Galvin is the smartest, hardest-working person she has known."To me, I can't think of somebody who would be more likely to get in there and be able to, I'm not saying change how Congress works, but maybe she could," Arians said.

Deena Mitchell, who knows Galvin through their education advocacy, said Galvin listens and has empathy but is also tough and does what she thinks is right. "She can push back when she needs to," Mitchell said.

Galvin initially intended to help like-minded candidates get elected before deciding to jump in herself, becoming part of a record number of women running for the House. Her own top-level campaign staff is all women, which she said was intentional, though she said that could change as the campaign grows.

Galvin, 53, said she was frustrated by what sees as a lack of leadership and the ongoing partisan rancor. Most registered voters in Alaska identify as independents, and Galvin said she's grateful the Democratic Party opened its primary to give those like her — whose values align closely with the party's — a voice.

It's important for people to work together, and that has been missing in Congress, she said. "I am one of those who just believes that we can find common ground enough to get things done," she said.

Health care costs are an ongoing concern for Alaskans. Galvin said she wants comprehensive coverage for everyone. She added, however, that there are things that can be done to fix the existing system in the meantime, including opening health care exchanges across state lines to expand coverage pools and enacting policies that lower prescription drug costs.

Galvin said she wouldn't take money from corporate political action committees but has accepted contributions from two union PACs, including $4,000 from the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, the PAC of the major teachers union that endorsed her.

At a recent meet-and-greet at a tea shop in Juneau that played New Age-y music, whenever the conversation ebbed, Galvin would ask if there were more questions or concerns or ideas to share.

Aaron Brakel, a facilities manager who attended the event, said he was deciding between Galvin and Shein but said he liked what he heard from Galvin.

Galvin has mounted a vigorous campaign, crisscrossing the state — sometimes traveling in her family RV emblazoned with her campaign logo.

She said she respects Young's service, but it's time for new energy.

Young, 85, recently referred to cellphones as "the worst thing that God ever gave man." His spokeswoman says that's a reference to how phones can be distracting and says Young thinks traveling the state and speaking with people one-on-one is the best form of communication.

Galvin said people are excited she knows how to text and uses Facebook Live to engage with them.

In one Facebook video last month, Galvin recorded herself calling Young's office to lament his lack of response to President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which both Alaska's U.S. senators weighed in on.

The video was part tutorial — showing people how to call their congressman, down to giving them his office number — and part infomercial, saying she hopes people will call her, too, with concerns.

Associated Press reporter Mark Thiessen contributed to this report from Anchorage.

Aretha Franklin ‘gravely ill’ in Detroit hospital, reports say

Mon, 2018-08-13 06:02

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2011 file photo, Aretha Franklin smiles after the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich. Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, that Franklin is seriously ill. No more details were provided. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya/)

Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that Franklin is seriously ill. No more details were provided.

A family member told a Detroit’s WDIV-TV Monday that the singer is “gravely ill.”

The Queen of Soul canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.

Last year, the 76-year-old icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things.”

Democrats have their own foreign espionage problem

Mon, 2018-08-13 05:49

WASHINGTON -- Imagine if it emerged that the Republican chairman of the House or Senate intelligence committee had a Russian spy working on their senate staff. Think it would cause a political firestorm? Well, this week we learned that Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., had a Chinese spy on her staff who worked for her for 20 years, who was listed as an "office director" on payroll records and served as her driver when she was in San Francisco, all while reporting to China's Ministry of State Security though China's San Francisco Consulate. The reaction of the mainstream media? Barely a peep.

Feinstein acknowledged the infiltration, but downplayed its significance. "Five years ago the FBI informed me it had concerns that an administrative member of my California staff was potentially being sought out by the Chinese government to provide information" Feinstein said in statement -- which means the breach took place while Feinstein was heading the intelligence committee. But, Feinstein insisted, "he never had access to classified or sensitive information or legislative matters" and was immediately fired. In other words: junior staffer, no policy role, no access to secrets, quickly fired -- no big deal.

But it is a big deal. I asked several former senior intelligence and law enforcement officials how serious this breach might have been. "It's plenty serious," one former top Justice Department official told me. "Focusing on his driver function alone, in Mafia families, the boss's driver was among the most trusted men in the crew, because among other things he heard everything that was discussed in the car."

A former top CIA clandestine officer explained to me what the agency would do if they had recruited the driver of a senior official like Feinstein. "We would have the driver record on his phone all conversations that Feinstein would have with passengers and phone calls in her car. If she left her phone, iPad or laptop in the car while she went to meetings, social events, dinners, etc., we would have the driver download all her devices. If the driver drove for her for 20 years he would probably would have had access to her office and homes. We would have had the source put down an audio device in her office or homes if the opportunity presented itself. Depending on the take from all of what the source reported, we would use the info to target others that were close to her and exhibited some type of vulnerability."

"In short," this officer says, "we would have had a field day."

It seems improbable that Feinstein never once discussed anything sensitive in her car over a period of years. But let's assume that Feinstein was extraordinarily careful and never discussed any classified information in front of her driver or on any devices to which he had access. Even so, one former top intelligence official told me, "someone in that position could give an adversary a whole bunch on atmospherics and trends and attitudes which are from time to time far more important than the things we call secrets." He added "It's like [having access to her] unclassified emails." (And we all know no one ever exposes classified information on unclassified emails).

Washington is understandably focused on the threat from Russia. But according to FBI director Chris Wray, "China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country." It was China, after all, which hacked the Office of Personnel Management in 2015, stealing the SF-86 security clearance forms of many thousands of executive branch employees in the most devastating cyberattack in the history of our country. Beijing has successfully recruited FBI agents and State Department employees as spies, and has used information from U.S. informants to kill dozens of CIA sources inside the regime. And now, we know they recruited a high value senate staffer who worked in immediate proximity to the head of the senate intelligence committee.

Feinstein owes the country a detailed explanation of how she let a Chinese spy into her inner sanctum. And the media should give this security breach the same attention they would if it involved Russia and the Republicans.

Marc Thiessen writes a twice-weekly column for The Washington Post on foreign and domestic policy and contributes to the PostPartisan blog. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

Court: Some sex offenders don’t need to register in Alaska

Mon, 2018-08-13 05:40

JUNEAU — The Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that some sex offenders convicted outside the state are not required to register in Alaska.

The Juneau Empire reports the court ruled Friday that the Alaska Department of Public Safety does not have leeway when determining if out-of-state sex crimes match with offenses under Alaska law.

For registered sex offenders who moved to Alaska, it was up to the public safety department to determine if their names would be entered into Alaska's sex offender database.

Defense attorney Darryl Thompson, whose client's case was one of two that spurred the ruling, says the department was unrestricted in making that determination. He says the ruling calls for legislative solutions.

The state Department of Law declined to comment, saying it was still reviewing the court opinion.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan as the nation’s best airline rewards program

Mon, 2018-08-13 05:28

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson/)

U.S. News & World Report recently announced their annual 2018-19 Best Travel Rewards Programs. Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan made the No. 1 spot in the Best Airline Rewards Programs category for the fourth year running.

The report, which evaluates rewards programs based on criteria such as membership benefits and ease of use, cites Alaska's mileage-based earning structure, the option to cash in miles for free flights, and the elite members' benefits as reasons for its top ranking.

This may come as good news to former Virgin America Elevate members who were recently transferred to the Mileage Plan as a part of the merger between Virgin America and Alaska announced in 2017. Virgin America Elevate ranked 5th on the 2016-2017 list.

This year, Delta SkyMiles took the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row, and JetBlue's TrueBlue program ranked third. The report also includes a category for Best Hotel Rewards Programs; Marriott Rewards is in the No. 1 spot on that list.

The full listings for the Best Airline Rewards Programs and the Best Hotel Rewards Program are below:

Best Airline Rewards Programs

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Delta SkyMiles

JetBlue TrueBlue

American Airlines AAdvantage

Southwest Rapid Rewards

United MileagePlus

Frontier Miles


Free Spirit

Best Hotel Rewards Programs

Marriott Rewards

Wyndham Rewards

World of Hyatt

Choice Privileges

Best Western Rewards

IHG Rewards Club

Radisson Rewards

La Quinta Returns

Invited (Small Luxury Hotels of the World)

Leaders Club

Hilton Honors

Sonesta Travel Pass

Stash Hotel Rewards

Omni Select Guest

Le Club Accorhotels

I Prefer Hotel Rewards

History will wonder why these men defended Trump but not their country

Mon, 2018-08-13 05:25

Imagine that U.S. military leaders spent most of 1941 warning President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Democratic Party of a coming Pearl Harbor attack. Then imagine history's harsh judgment against FDR's party had it ignored those concerns, voted against efforts to fortify the Pacific fleet and plotted the firing of generals who were working to expose the looming Japanese threat. Historians would have rightly savaged these politicians as traitors to their country.

Seventy-seven years later, President Trump and his Republican Party are showing a disturbing ambivalence toward Russia's attacks on U.S. democracy. What exactly are we to make of their disturbing behavior? Even after Trump's intelligence chiefs handed Republicans incontrovertible evidence of Russian malevolence, Trump dismissed the warnings as a hoax, the GOP House Intelligence Committee chairman secretly plotted against those leading the Russia investigation and Senate Republicans voted in lock step against a Democratic bill providing a stronger defense against future Russian attacks.

"The X-Files" this is not. The truth about Russia is out there, and it is staring every Republican right in the face.

Trump's director of national intelligence said warning lights were "blinking red" and compared the threat level from Russia to what we faced leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The president's secretary of homeland security declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin's plot against America placed "democracy itself . . . in the cross hairs."

The president's FBI director, in that same news conference, warned Americans that "the threat is not going away."

But despite that clear and present danger, Trump still stubbornly sides with an ex-KGB spy over his own law enforcement and intelligence leaders. Just hours after his national security team delivered their harsh warnings in a White House press briefing, Trump bellowed to a Pennsylvania audience that "I had a great meeting with Putin. . . . Now we're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax, okay?"

No, Mr. President. This is not a hoax, and things are not okay.

The United States has already indicted more than two dozen Russians for their involvement in the conspiracy to undermine U.S. elections. Twelve of those indicted work for the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, and allegedly launched their attacks against the United States in the course of "their official capacities," according to the Justice Department. Those indictments charge that Putin ramped up his attacks on the United States on July 27, 2016 - the day Trump asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton's "30,000 emails that are missing."

We don't know yet if Trump or his associates had any direct involvement in Putin's conspiracy to interfere in our electoral process. But only a fool would suggest that the Russian leader is an innocent man. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's indictment documents in painstaking detail how Russia's military spy agency hacked into America's infrastructure and describes its ongoing efforts to destabilize our country. The forensic evidence proving Putin's cyberwar against the United States is so comprehensive that neither the president nor his sycophants in Congress deny in good faith that Russia has been coordinating attacks against the United States for years.

So now is the time to ask again why Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani is demanding a speedy end to the damning Russia investigation, when the Whitewater probe of the Clintons lasted much longer. And why did Vice President Pence spend months denying the Trump team's contacts with Russian officials, only to pivot this past year to calling for a quick end to the investigation?

Will Pence's future presidential primary challengers remember that Americans would have never uncovered the scope and scale of Putin's plot against Western democracies if Pence had had his way? Do House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes's constituents in California understand that their representative is trying to use his chairmanship to destroy the careers of officials overseeing the Russia investigation? Let us hope the answer is yes.

One thing is certain: Republicans can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to Putin. Our country's national security community has sounded the alarm. Congress has been warned that our democracy is under attack by the Russians. How GOP leaders respond to this threat will determine not only the legacy of their political party but also the resilience of a political system they have carelessly ceded to a buffoon. Unless Republican leaders begin putting country ahead of party, history's judgment against them all will be harsh.

Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, hosts the MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

Former Trump staffer releases another recording, threatens to say more

Mon, 2018-08-13 05:04

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2017, file photo, Omarosa Manigault, then-director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, center, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, before the start of President Donald Trump's news conference. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/)

WASHINGTON — Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman released another audio recording Monday that she says features President Donald Trump, as she threatened to “blow the whistle” on White House corruption.

The recording, released on NBC's "Today" show, is purportedly a phone conversation between Trump and Manigault Newman after she was fired from the White House. It appears to show Trump expressing surprise, saying "nobody even told me about it."

Manigault Newman is drawing fire from Trump's allies and national security experts for secret recordings she made at the White House, including her firing by chief of staff John Kelly in the high-security Situation Room.

While the latest recording appears to show Trump was unaware of the firing, Manigault Newman said on "Today" that Trump may have instructed Kelly to do it, but she offered no evidence. The White House, which offered stinging criticism over the weekend, did not immediately respond to questions on the new recording.

Manigault Newman, whose book "Unhinged" is out this week, suggested there was more to come, saying: "There's a lot of very corrupt things happening in the White House and I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of them."

Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on "Fox and Friends" Monday that Manigault Newman may have broken the law by recording private conversations at the White House.

When asked if she broke the law, Giuliani said: "She's certainly violating national security regulations, which I think have the force of law."

On Sunday, Manigault Newman told NBC's "Meet the Press" that she surreptitiously recorded a number of conversations in the White House for her own protection. Parts of her conversation with Kelly were played on the air. Critics denounced the recordings as a serious breach of ethics and security.

"Who in their right mind thinks it's appropriate to secretly record the White House chief of staff in the Situation Room?" tweeted Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

In the recording, which Manigault Newman quotes extensively in her new book, "Unhinged," Kelly can be heard saying that he wants to talk with Manigault Newman about leaving the White House. The Associated Press independently listened to the recording of the conversation.

"It's come to my attention over the last few months that there's been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues related to you," Kelly is heard saying, citing her use of government vehicles and "money issues and other things" that he compares to offenses that could lead to a court martial in the military.

"If we make this a friendly departure ... you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation," he tells Manigault Newman, adding: "There are some serious legal issues that have been violated and you're open to some legal action that we hope, we think, we can control."

Manigault Newman said she viewed the conversation as a "threat" and defended her decision to covertly record it and other White House conversations.

"If I didn't have these recordings, no one in America would believe me," she said.

The response from the White House was stinging. "The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security - and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The Situation Room is a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, where the nation's most consequential foreign policy decisions are made, and staff are not permitted to bring in cellphones or other recording devices.

"I've never heard of a more serious breach of protocol," said Ned Price, who served as spokesman of the National Security Council in the Obama administration. "Not only is it not typical, something like this is unprecedented."

Price said there is no one checking staffers for devices at the door, but there is a sign outside the room making clear that electronic devices are prohibited.

"The Situation Room is the inner-most sanctum of a secure campus," he said, describing the breach as part of a culture of disregarding security protocols in the Trump White House. He also questioned why Kelly would ever choose to have such a meeting there.

In the book, which will be released Tuesday, Manigault Newman paints a damning picture of Trump, including claiming without evidence that tapes exist of him using the N-word as he filmed his "The Apprentice" reality series, on which she co-starred.

Manigault Newman wrote in the book that she had not personally heard the recording. But she told Chuck Todd on Sunday that she later was able to hear a recording of Trump during a trip to Los Angeles.

"I heard his voice as clear as you and I are sitting here," she said on the show.

The White House had previously tried to discredit the book, with Sanders calling it "riddled with lies and false accusations." Trump on Saturday labeled Manigault Newman a "lowlife."

Katrina Pierson, an adviser to Trump's re-election campaign who served as a spokeswoman for his 2016 campaign, said she had never heard Trump use the kind of derogatory language Manigault Newman describes. She said in a statement that she feels "pity for Omarosa as she embarrasses herself by creating salacious lies and distortions just to try to be relevant and enrich herself by selling books at the expense of the truth. 'Unhinged,' indeed."

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also questioned Manigault Newman's credibility in an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"The first time I ever heard Omarosa suggest those awful things about this president are in this book," she said, noting Manigault Newman "is somebody who gave a glowing appraisal of Donald Trump the businessman, the star of the 'The Apprentice,' the candidate and, indeed, the president of the United States."

Manigault Newman had indeed been a staunch defender of the president for years, including pushing back, as the highest-profile African-American in the White House, on accusations that he was racist.

But Manigault Newman now says she was "used" by Trump, calling him a "con" who "has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities" and is "truly a racist."

“I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation,” she said. “I had a blind spot where it came to Donald Trump.”

Brett Kavanaugh and ‘the end of the regulatory state as we know it’

Sun, 2018-08-12 22:36

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with congressional leaders in Washington on July 24. Bloomberg photo by Zach Gibson (Zach Gibson/)

WASHINGTON - The White House did not mince words when it introduced Judge Brett Kavanaugh to business and industry leaders on the occasion of his nomination to the Supreme Court this summer.

"Judge Kavanaugh has overruled federal agency action 75 times," the administration said in a one-page unsigned memo touting what it considered the highlights of Kavanaugh's 12 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

"Judge Kavanaugh protects American businesses from illegal job-killing regulation," the memo said. "Judge Kavanaugh helped kill President Obama's most destructive new environmental rules."

Hot-button social issues such as abortion and race have so far dominated the debate about Kavanaugh's nomination,but there is no more important issue to the Trump administration than bringing to heel the federal agencies and regulatory entities that, in Kavanaugh's words, form "a headless fourth branch of the U.S. Government."

"The ever-growing, unaccountable administrative state is a direct threat to individual liberty," White House Counsel Donald McGahn said in a speech to the conservative Federalist Society in the fall. He has said the Trump administration's efforts to strike down government regulations will be meaningless without judges who will "stand strong."

As he told another conservative group: "There is a coherent plan here where actually the judicial selection and the deregulatory effort are really the flip side of the same coin."

Kavanaugh, 53, for years has been an influential judicial voice questioning the administrative state, with a string of opinions that would sharply limit the power of federal agencies, from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to the Environmental Protection Agency. The decisions concern a long list of topics - mortgage abuse, greenhouse gases, even protecting employees from killer whales.

His nomination concerns some who say the agencies' rulemaking powers protect the public.

"This is the end of the regulatory state as we know it," said Rena Steinzor, a University of Maryland law professor who specializes in administrative law. "If he goes up there they will never find a regulation they find acceptable. And they're going to be making the policy."

Kavanaugh's confirmation, for instance, could call into question the Supreme Court's 5-to-4 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA that in 2007 said greenhouse gases blamed for global warming could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The justice he would replace, Anthony Kennedy, joined the court's liberals to form the slim majority.

The ruling opened a new front for EPA regulation, but Kavanaugh has routinely ruled against the agency's efforts.

"EPA's well-intentioned policy objectives with respect to climate change do not on their own authorize the agency to regulate. The agency must have statutory authority for the regulations it wants to issue," Kavanaugh wrote in a recent opinion about manufacturers using hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, potent greenhouse gases.

He added: "Congress's failure to enact general climate change legislation does not license an agency to take matters into its own hands, even to solve a pressing policy issue such as climate change."

Julia Stein, a University of California at Los Angeles law professor who specializes in environmental law, wrote in an analysis that Kavanaugh's rulings would limit the agency's efforts in the face of congressional gridlock.

"In a world where comprehensive climate change legislation appears to be a long way off, a Justice Kavanaugh would likely present a hurdle to future agency attempts to regulate climate change within the existing statutory framework," she wrote.

Kavanaugh has participated in more than 300 opinions, about a third of them dealing with the scope of regulatory agencies.

The judge's supporters say he rules for agencies when he finds they are exercising power specifically granted by Congress, but only after a thorough examination.

"Kavanaugh takes the underlying questions about the legitimacy of any agency's actions very seriously," said Jonathan H. Adler, director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. "His response has been to enforce the rules pretty strictly."

His positions often take issue with the role of independent agencies - from the late 1800s in regulating railroads through the 2009 financial reforms - established with the purpose of protecting the public from more powerful individuals and corporations. Over time, these agencies often adapt to deal with new problems in their areas not specifically mentioned by Congress when they were created.

In one case he ruled in favor of SeaWorld, which had been fined $75,000 by OSHA after a killer whale dismembered and drowned a trainer in front of hundreds of visitors. OSHA said SeaWorld knew from earlier incidents that the whale was highly dangerous.

A majority of the three-judge appeals court panel backed OSHA. But Kavanaugh dissented, calling OSHA's action "arbitrary and capricious" because regulating the safety of killer whale shows is no different from regulating the safety of tackling in football or speeding in auto racing or punching in boxing.

He wrote that the Labor Department "lacks authority to regulate the normal activities of participants in sports events or entertainment shows."

In PHH v. the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Kavanaugh's colleagues on the circuit court overturned his decision that the agency lacked authority because its sole director was not subject to dismissal by the president.

"This is a case about executive power and individual liberty," he wrote, siding with PHH, a mortgage lender that challenged the CFPB after it fined the company $109 million.

"Because of their massive power and the absence of Presidential supervision and direction, independent agencies pose a significant threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional system of separation of powers and checks and balances."

The majority in the case said that "PHH makes no secret of its wholesale attack on independent agencies-whether collectively or individually led-that, if accepted, would broadly transform modern government."

It is often in dissent that Kavanaugh has moved the law. Asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee to list his 10 most significant opinions, four of the top five were cases in which Kavanaugh disagreed with his colleagues on the D.C. Circuit but was later supported by the Supreme Court.

At the top of the list was a case in which he dissented when a panel of his court upheld the constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

"In my view," Kavanaugh told the senators in his questionnaire, "a key feature of the board's structure - that its members were removable only 'for cause' by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose members were removable only 'for cause' by the President - unconstitutionally limited the President's Article II authority to supervise the Executive Branch."

The Supreme Court's conservatives, in a 5-to-4 vote, agreed with Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh also argued against the ability of agencies created in an earlier era to regulate modern business. In a case regarding net neutrality, he wrote that the Federal Communications Commission lacked the authority to regulate without explicit instructions from Congress.

"Congress has debated net neutrality for many years, but Congress has never enacted net neutrality legislation or clearly authorized the FCC to impose common-carrier obligations on Internet service providers," Kavanaugh wrote. "The lack of clear congressional authorization matters."

Kavanaugh is especially concerned with what is called the "major rules doctrine." Congressional authorization would be needed for any regulation of vast economic or political significance - a major rule.

Ian Fein, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the doctrine would "turn parts of administrative law on its head and strip agencies of power they currently have under numerous statutes to deal with problems that arise in different areas."

Fein said "Congress passes laws that establish agencies that deal with new problems that arise. Under Kavanaugh, agencies would not be able to use existing power. They would have to go to Congress to enact new laws

Kavanaugh's opinions have drawn opposition from groups not normally outspoken on judicial appointments. The Natural Resources Defense Council has announced it opposes Kavanaugh's nomination; its only prior public opposition to a Supreme Court nominee was against Justice Samuel A. Alito.

Other environmentalist groups are also alarmed. They point to a case called EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA. Kavanaugh wrote a majority opinion saying that the EPA could not regulate pollution from one state that was afflicting other states downwind - even if the state spewing emissions was harming the health of those downwind.

"It undercuts environmental protection to such an extent that it hearkens back to pre-EPA powers when we had tragedies like Love Canal and 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River," said Pat Gallagher, director of the environmental law program at the Sierra Club. "Kavanaugh's speeches, opinions and writings all indicate antipathy toward strong regulatory powers like EPA needs to do its job."

It is also the one instance where the Supreme Court reversed a Kavanaugh decision, ruling 6 to 2 for the EPA.

Another reason Kavanaugh has upset environmentalists: In some cases, he make it tougher for independent groups such as the NRDC to file suits to protect the public interest and health. In Public Citizen, Inc. v. National Highway Safety Administration, Kavanaugh's 2007 majority ruling questioned Public Citizen's standing based on increased risk of future harm.

"Kavanaugh questioned whether the courthouse door should ever be opened to plaintiffs suing based on increased risk of harm created by the action they're challenging," Fein, the NRDC lawyer, said in an interview. "That would have a dramatic impact on citizens but also organizations like NRDC that bring lawsuits to try to protect the public health and welfare. It is deeply troubling."

Adler said his review of Kavanaugh's decisions show him to be "evenhanded," using the same evaluation of agency actions whether they could be characterized as liberal or conservative.

The judge in some cases has upheld EPA regulations, and in at least one case found that environmental groups had the legal standing to intervene in a case, Adler said.

Others, such as Washington lawyer Eric Citron, who analyzed Kavanaugh’s record for, found the judge to be a “reflexive” friend of business.

“Those who worry that Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy will stand as a barrier to government regulation of big businesses - including when it comes to policies like net neutrality - are right to feel that way,” he wrote. “Conversely, those who celebrate that philosophy as tending to make the market and the country a freer place will find a like-minded champion on the Supreme Court.”

Toxics from manufacturing turn up in public water systems

Sun, 2018-08-12 22:01

In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo, Lauren Woehr hands her 16-month-old daughter Caroline, held by her husband Dan McDowell, a cup filled with bottled water at their home in Horsham, Pa. In Horsham and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke/)

HORSHAM, Pa. — Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.

Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.

"You all made me out to be a liar," Hagey, general water and sewer manager in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Warminister, told Environmental Protection Agency officials last month.

At "community engagement sessions" like the one in Horsham, residents and state, local and military officials are demanding that the EPA act quickly — and decisively — to clean up local water systems testing positive for dangerous levels of the chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

The Trump administration called the contamination "a potential public relations nightmare" earlier this year after federal toxicology studies found that some of the compounds are more hazardous than previously acknowledged.

PFAS have been in production since the 1940s, and there are about 3,500 different types. Dumped into water, the air or soil, some forms of the compounds are expected to remain intact for thousands of years; one public-health expert dubbed them "forever chemicals."

EPA testing from 2013 to 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. The finding helped move PFAS up as a national priority.

So did scientific studies that firmed up the health risks. One, looking at a kind of PFAS once used in making Teflon, found a probable link with kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypertension in pregnant women and high cholesterol. Other recent studies point to immune problems in children, among other things.

In 2016, the EPA set advisory limits — without any direct enforcement — for two kinds of PFAS that had recently been phased out of production in the United States. But manufacturers are still producing, and releasing into the air and water, newer versions of the compounds.

Earlier this year, federal toxicologists decided that even the EPA's 2016 advisory levels for the two phased-out versions of the compound were several times too high for safety.

EPA says it will prepare a national management plan for the compounds by the end of the year. But Peter Grevatt, director of the agency's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, told The Associated Press that there's no deadline for a decision on possible regulatory actions.

Reviews of the data, and studies to gather more, are ongoing.

Even as the Trump administration says it advocates for clean air and water, it is ceding more regulation to the states and putting a hold on some regulations seen as burdensome to business.

In Horsham and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained PFAS.

"I know that you can't bring back three people that I lost," Betz, a retired airman, told the federal officials at the Horsham meeting. "But they're gone."

State lawmakers complained of "a lack of urgency and incompetency" on the part of EPA.

"It absolutely disgusts me that the federal government would put PR concerns ahead of public health concerns," Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens declared.

After the meeting, Woeher questioned why it took so long to tell the public about the dangers of the compounds.

"They knew they had seeped into the water, and they didn't tell anybody about it until it was revealed and they had to," she said.

Speaking at her home with her toddler nearby, she asked, "Is this something that, you know, I have to worry? It's in her."

While contamination of drinking water around military bases and factories gets most of the attention, the EPA says 80 percent of human exposure comes from consumer products in the home.

The chemical industry says it believes the versions of the nonstick, stain-resistant compounds in use now are safe, in part because they don't stay in the body as long as older versions.

"As an industry today ... we're very forthcoming meeting any kind of regulatory requirement to disclose any kind of adverse data," said Jessica Bowman, a senior director at the American Chemistry Council trade group.

Independent academics and government regulators say they don't fully share the industry's expressed confidence about the safety of PFAS versions now in use.

While EPA considers its next step, states are taking action to tackle PFAS contamination on their own.

In Delaware, National Guard troops handed out water after high levels of PFAS were found in a town's water supply. Michigan last month ordered residents of two towns to stop drinking or cooking with their water, after PFAS was found at 20 times the EPA's 2016 advisory level. In New Jersey, officials urged fishermen to eat some kinds of fish no more than once a year because of PFAS contamination.

Washington became the first state to ban any firefighting foam with the compound.

Given the findings on the compounds, alarm bells "should be ringing four out of five" at the EPA, Kerrigan Clough, a former deputy regional EPA administrator, said in an interview with the AP as he waited for a test for PFAS in the water at his Michigan lake home, which is near a military base that used firefighting foam.

"If the risk appears to be high, and you've got it every place, then you've got a different level" of danger and urgency, Clough said. "It's a serious problem."

Problems with PFAS surfaced partly as a result of a 1999 lawsuit by a farmer who filmed his cattle staggering, frothing and dying in a field near a DuPont disposal site in Parkersburg, West Virginia, for PFAS then used in Teflon.

In 2005, under President George W. Bush, the EPA and DuPont settled an EPA complaint that the chemical company knew at least by the mid-1980s that the early PFAS compound posed a substantial risk to human health.

The EPA in the past "didn't have much of a hammer to come down on a bad existing chemical," said Lynn Goldman, the agency's assistant administrator over toxic substances in the 1990s, now dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

But Congress has boosted the agency's authority to regulate problematic chemicals since then. That includes toughening up the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and regulatory mandates for the EPA itself in 2016.

For PFAS, that should include addressing the new versions of the compounds coming into production, not just tackling old forms that companies already agreed to take offline, Goldman said.

"Otherwise it's the game of whack-a-mole," she said. "That's not what you want to do when you're protecting the public health."


Kodiak union claims employer’s engaging in unfair practices

Sun, 2018-08-12 20:30

KODIAK — Members of a Kodiak union claim that container transportation and shipping company American President Lines is engaging in unfair labor practices.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports members of Kodiak's International Longshore and Warehouse Union unit formed a picket line Thursday and held up signs that read the "APL unfair, stop withholding information."

A statement by Dennis Young, president of the union's Alaska Longshore division, says after the picket-line was dissipated, union members commenced work for the day but were sent home after the workforce found safety issues with the equipment.

Mike Mizell, American President Lines' manager of operations in Kodiak, denied any unfair labor practices.

He declined to comment on claims over safety issues with equipment.

He says the firm was working on negotiations and hoped to have work starting up again the next day.

Searchers on Sunday look for two missing men in different parts of Alaska

Sun, 2018-08-12 19:48

Alaska State Troopers and other searchers over the weekend looked unsuccessfully for two missing people in different parts of the state.

 In Southeast Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday said it joined troopers in searching for a 74-year-old man in a heavily wooded area about 28 miles northwest of Haines.

The search included two Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrews, ground crews and canine search teams.

The man was last seen Friday morning at his residence, wearing jeans and a blue-and-white long-sleeve button–down shirt.  He has no reported medical issues or mental instability. His vehicle was found on a remote road at 6 p.m. Saturday night, the Coast Guard said in a release.

In a different search, troopers said Sunday they had searched near Hope for Earl "Rocky" Ashworth III, 56 and from Palmer. Ashworth had walked away from his camp near milepost 56 of the Seward Highway in an unknown direction. Troopers were notified he was missing late Friday night.

A trooper helicopter along with volunteers from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Alaska Search and Rescue Dogs and Alaska Solstice Search Dogs searched the area but could not find him.

Ashworth is a white male with blonde hair and blue eyes and last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with cut off sleeves and an American eagle on the front with blue jeans, troopers said.

Winds, rain spawned by former typhoon cause power outages, flooding concern in Southcentral

Sun, 2018-08-12 18:54

Tourists stopped and experienced the strong winds at Beluga Point along the Turnagain Arm while taking a bus to Seward on Sunday, August 12, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Strong winds spawned by a former typhoon ripped through Southcentral Alaska on Sunday afternoon, sparking power outages in Anchorage and continued warnings from weather officials of flooding rivers and lakes.

"We still have some pretty significant weather occurring over the next 24 hours until things start to ratchet down," said Michael Kutz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, on Sunday afternoon.

Powerful bursts of wind sliced through the Anchorage Hillside and higher elevations along Turnagain Arm Sunday afternoon. Gusts of 75 mph were clocked in the McHugh Creek area and in the upper DeArmoun Road area.

There was a spell of sunshine in Anchorage on Sunday afternoon, but that was temporary, with more clouds and rain coming, he said.

The wind made launching the weather balloon from the agency's West Anchorage building a trial, said Kutz.

"When you walk outside it beats you up like a boxer on a timing bag," he said.

Chugach Electric Association reported on social media Sunday evening that strong winds had caused "several outages." About 150 customers in south Anchorage were affected, the company's web site showed.

"We have one crew working and are in the process of calling in more crews," the company said.

About 150 customers around Northern Lights Boulevard and the Seward Highway temporarily lost power early Sunday afternoon, said Julie Harris, a spokeswoman with Anchorage Municipal Light and Power.

"We don't know for sure, but we believe the cause was wind-related," she said.

The weather is the product of former Typhoon Shanshan that brushed along the coast of Japan earlier this week — but didn't make landfall — before moving farther northeast into the Pacific.

The impacts were being felt across Southcentral, Kutz said.

Cordova saw more than an inch of rain in about 16 hours on Sunday, he said. A lake blocked by Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward was filling with water, possibly creating conditions for a large release.

"The water levels are high and they will continue to be high through later tonight and eventually start draining," he said.

Rain and gusty winds were expected to continue in Cook Inlet and the Susitna Valley to early Monday morning, Kutz said.

The rainfall is expected to raise water levels in rivers and streams, with streams coming out of the Talkeetna Mountains in the Susitna Valley of greatest concern.

"These area streams will likely approach bankfull conditions by Sunday night and continue into Monday or Tuesday," the weather service said in a special weather statement.

"Persons traveling or recreating in the area are urged to remain alert for rising water levels, potential flooding, and iceberg movement over the next few days," the weather service said.

A small craft advisory was also issued for Prince William Sound, with conditions expected to reach 25-knot winds and 6-foot seas Sunday night. A gale warning for lower Cook Inlet described conditions reaching 35-knot winds and 11-foot seas Sunday afternoon and evening.

“We were all screaming, ‘Oh my god’”: How the Horizon Air theft and crash unfolded

Sun, 2018-08-12 17:42

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, someone in the air traffic control tower noticed the Horizon Air plane lining up at the middle of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport's three runways.

An air traffic controller asked the pilot of the twin-engine turboprop to identify himself. "Aircraft on Charlie lining up runway 16C, say your call sign." No response.

He tried again, twice.

From the cockpit of an Alaska Airlines jet below, the pilot radioed to say the smaller turboprop plane was taking off, wheels smoking as it accelerated down the runway.

About an hour and 10 minutes later, airline and law enforcement officials say, a Horizon ground crew employee, Richard Russell, crashed the plane he had commandeered into a wooded area of Ketron Island in south Puget Sound. Believed to be the only occupant, he is presumed dead.

In between, Russell went on what Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor called "a joyride gone terribly wrong," performing aerial acrobatics as a calm air traffic controller tried to talk him down safely.

The rogue flight halted air traffic at the nation's ninth-largest airport for more than an hour, caused air-defense authorities to scramble fighter jets from Portland, and raised questions about how someone could have stolen an aircraft in an era of heightened airport security.

Interviews with eyewitnesses, accounts from passengers on other planes, air traffic control recordings and reports from authorities inform the following account of how the chaotic evening unfolded:

The Horizon Q400, tail No. N449QX, had landed at Sea-Tac at 1:35 p.m. after a short flight from Victoria, B.C. It was the plane's last scheduled flight of the day, and it was subsequently parked at a cargo and maintenance area in the northeast corner of the airport.

Russell, 29, worked as a ground service agent, handling baggage and cargo and helping to tow planes. He worked a shift on Friday, his employer said.

At some point, the authorities say, Russell got into a pushback tractor, attached it to the aircraft and turned the airplane 180 degrees, toward the runways.

Ben Schaechter, on his way to San Jose, California, for a wedding, said he was in a plane accelerating for takeoff when the pilot slammed on the brakes. The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 came to a stop halfway down the runway. "Everyone was very calm," he said. But they knew something was wrong.

The pilot, he said, got on the intercom to say another pilot had taken off ahead of them without permission.

Confused passengers took to social media, one tweeting: "Sitting on the runway at SeaTac, preparing for departure. Before takeoff, the pilot explains someone stole an airplane, and is flying around near Mt. Rainier."

Speaking with an air traffic controller on the ground-control frequency normally used to guide planes to the runway, Russell talked about circling Rainier, or heading over to the Olympic Mountains. He was at turns giddy and apologetic.

"Man, I'm sorry about this," Russell told the air traffic controller. "I hope it doesn't ruin your day."

Apparently unfamiliar with many of the controls of the plane he was flying, Russell was aware of at least one indicator.

"I'm not quite ready to bring it down just yet," he said. "But holy smokes I gotta stop looking at the fuel because it's going down quick."

At about 8 p.m., the controller tried to guide Russell to land at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of several attempts to coax him to find a runway or take the plane over the water.

About 130 miles south of Sea-Tac, two F-15C jets of 142nd Fighter Wing, on alert round-the-clock to defend an area between Northern California and the San Juan Islands, took off.

Armed with missiles and a six-barrel cannon, and capable of flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound, the planes closed most of the distance to Sea-Tac in four minutes, creating a sonic boom on their way. They were ordered, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said, to try to direct the plane over the Pacific Ocean.

On a walk near Chambers Bay Golf Course, Derek Funk and his girlfriend, Lesley Gordon, heard the aircraft before they saw them.

"They just came in screaming," Funk said. The jets banked hard, he said, making a sweeping J in the sky as they turned south to match the heading of the airliner.

At 8:17 p.m., Kat Treichel was waiting for a ride to Anderson Island at the Steilacoom ferry terminal. She was greeted by an air-show-like display: a turboprop flying low toward the southwest, a fighter jet matching its movements a few hundred feet off its right wingtip. She took a smartphone video and sent it to her son, a new engineer at Boeing.

Russell, by that point, was doing stunts, asking the air traffic controller what the plane was capable of doing and testing its limits.

Rick Christenson, a retired Horizon employee, saw the plane dive toward the water from the deck of his cousin's home looking out on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. "We were all screaming, 'Oh my god, oh my god,' and I was yelling, 'Pull up, pull up,' " Christenson said.

Russell was able to pull out of the dive.

The air traffic controller continued to urge Russell to aim for a runway, suggesting a small airport near Tacoma.

At 8:47 p.m., Russell told the controller he suspected he had trouble with one of his engines. The controller replied that he should stay out over the water.

Wayne and Sharon Dequer, Ketron Island residents for the past five years, knew something was wrong as soon as they heard the plane. Jets often fly overhead from the south on the way to Sea-Tac. This time, she said, the noise was coming from the north.

A few moments later, the couple heard a loud boom and saw a mushroom cloud. When the smoke rolled in, she said, it was clear from the smell it wasn't a normal fire. The couple decided to leave the heavily wooded island. "Everyone on the island is paranoid about fires."

Back at Sea-Tac, and about an hour after screeching to a halt on the runway, the plane Schaechter was on returned to the terminal, passengers descending a mobile staircase onto the tarmac.

About 75 flights were delayed by the time operations at the airport resumed. Nine were diverted to other airports, and five were canceled. The airport wouldn't return to normal operations until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Gordon, driving past the ferry at Steilacoom after 9 p.m. Friday, found firefighters crowded on the dock, waiting for a ferry to take them to the island. On the water, two police speedboats headed for Ketron.

The plane had crashed near the southern tip of the island, its wings sheared off and the fuselage resting upside down. A 2-acre brush fire was still smoldering Saturday morning.

Treichel, who saw smoke rising from Ketron Island, didn't connect it to the plane until her son called to say the aircraft they had just seen had gone down.

"What a sad, surreal evening," she said.

At least 20 displaced by apartment fire in Anchorage Saturday night

Sun, 2018-08-12 16:55

A structure fire on Saturday evening affected people living in 22 units at the Manor House Condo Association off Reka Drive. (Bill Roth / ADN)

A fire at an apartment complex in the Russian Jack area of Anchorage Saturday night displaced at least 20 people, including a dozen who stayed overnight at a shelter, according to the American Red Cross of Alaska.

The entire building on Reka Drive, with 24 units, was affected by smoke or water damage, with a much smaller number of units burned, said Cari Dighton, a spokeswoman with the humanitarian group.

At about 9 p.m. on Saturday, emergency responders announced they were closing traffic in the area, at the 4600 block of Reka west of Russian Jack Park, as multiple vehicles responded.

No injuries were reported. "Everyone was able to get out safely," Dighton said.

The number of displaced people was so large that the Red Cross' emergency response vehicle that arrived on scene to provide immediate shelter didn't have space for everyone, Dighton said.

But a nearby resident opened their home as the Red Cross prepared an overnight shelter at the Fairview Recreation Center.

The neighbor, who was unaffected by the fire, offered water, restroom facilities and a place out of the rain.

"They even put sign on their door, saying I've gone to bed, but please feel free to use the restroom," said Dighton, who would not name the neighbor.

The shelter at the recreation center will stay open as needed.

Several Red Cross volunteers stayed through the night Saturday, providing blankets, cots and food, the Red Cross said. Also providing emotional support on Sunday morning were two canine teams from National Crisis Response Canines, Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers, volunteer interpreters and two chaplains from the Alaska Police and Fire Chaplains' Ministries.

"The fire department is working with the apartment manager to figure out when folks can get back into their places," Dighton said.

The Red Cross office in Anchorage will open to help people with case assistance and long-term recovery plans starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow, at 235 E. Eighth Ave, Suite 200.