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UAA women’s basketball team soars in season opener

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 17:10

And they're off.

The UAA women's basketball team opened its season in familiar fashion Saturday in San Francisco — with a lopsided victory fueled by defensive pressure and offensive balance.

In a 92-52 blowout of Holy Names University, the Seawolves — 124-12 in the previous four seasons — swiped the ball 16 times, scored 29 points off turnovers and got points and rebounds from 11 players.

The nonconference game was part of the Gator Invitational. The Seawolves return to The Swamp on Sunday to face tournament host San Francisco State.

Senior center Hannah Wanderee supplied 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds and newcomer Safiyyah Yasin scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Seawolves.

Yasin, a 5-foot-6 junior guard from Oakland, was one of five players in the UAA lineup who hail from the Bay Area. That attracted a fair number of fans who came to cheer for the Seawolves, who didn't disappoint.

Yazmeen Goo of nearby Daly City had 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting plus three assists and two steals; Sali Langi of Pacifica scored 12 points on 4 of 7 shooting and her sister Victoria Langi added four rebounds, three points and three assists; and Kian McNair of Vallejo was good for eight points, four rebounds and two steals.

Monica Valenzuela's 11 points topped Holy Names (0-1), a Division II team that plays in the Pac West Conference.

Women in Legislature to have modest gain in 2019 - Great Falls Tribune

Legislative News - Sat, 2018-11-10 16:55

Great Falls Tribune

Women in Legislature to have modest gain in 2019
Great Falls Tribune
Nevada is also poised to have the highest share of female legislators, 47.6 percent, which is a new record for any of the 50 states. States with the highest percentages of women in 2019, in addition to Nevada, are Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Alaska ...

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Her ex wants casual hook-ups even though he has a girlfriend. Good idea?

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 15:18

Wayne and Wanda advice bug

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

A few months ago, I ran into my ex, "Jack." It had been a while, and I had missed him, so when he suggested we walk to a bar down the block for a drink, I was game. I went along. Conversation flowed, so did the chemistry — and the drinks. He eventually suggested we go to my place, and we went there, and he stayed the night. And it was great. Sigh.

In the morning, Jack told me he'd had a lot of fun and he hoped we could hang out again but then he completely shocked me by saying he actually has a girlfriend. He said he hadn't done anything wrong — that they have an open relationship, but she would prefer to not know about his hook-ups.

This bothered me for a lot of reasons. I guess I didn't know it at the time, but I hoped I was more than just a hook-up? And maybe if I had known he had a girlfriend, I wouldn't have hooked up with him? He said I should relax and enjoy the "casual nature" of our connection — that we were never serious anyway, and this is "best of both worlds" because we can still meet up sometimes. But I feel confused about this whole thing. Maybe I like him more than I thought? I'm not sure if I feel OK with just hooking up. But dang I like this guy and also would like to enjoy whatever I can get. Is that bad?

Wanda says:

Open relationships have become something of a trend. Once taboo, illusive and rare, being "polyamorous" these days — meaning, having a relationship where you're allowed to varying degrees to take other lovers — is way more mainstream.

Just because something is part of the conversation doesn't mean it's something you need to be comfortable with. Especially when you're the sidecar to the motorcycle. Too blunt? Sorry. But here's the deal: if your dude is telling the truth, then he has a partner who is his priority, and you are a plaything whose involvement is occasional and the terms of which have been pre-negotiated with his primary.

If she even knows. Let's be honest, this sounds fishy. She knows he's in other relations but doesn't want to hear the details? That's a convenient narrative to support him being able to carry on with you in complete anonymity.

Take a time out and ask yourself, what do you really want here? Just sex? You can get that with someone with way simpler circumstances, who would be available to you more frequently. Do you want a relationship? You won't find it with this guy. That, I can guarantee.

Wayne says:

Also ask yourself if you would even want more out of this if he didn't have a girlfriend. Seriously. Up until the point he dropped the 'oh by the way' on his relationship status, it seemed like you didn't mind just fooling around and continuing on with your respective lives. But then he gives you the scoop on his girlfriend and (possibly) open relationship, and you get all sensitive and competitive.

That's understandable because it is something of a bad-timing bombshell and a really lame spot to put you in. He should have been more open — pun intended — about his situation before things escalated to the sheets with you.

But he's your ex, right? You didn't mention why you two stopped dating, but you also didn't say that you were really really hoping to one day get back together with him. You randomly bumped into him and then you did some not-so-random, totally casual and probably very familiar and fun bumping and grinding. Old feelings bubble up, sparks fly, things happen — it is what it is, until you both made it something more than it is.

He should have been more honest with you. And you should be more honest with yourself — you're upset because he's dating someone else and he put you in an awkward spot, not because you really want him back. Trust me: No more sex or texts with this ex.

The day the guns fell silent

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 14:24

Sgt. Robert Cude remembered that the bugle call, “Stand Fast” - cease firing - sounded across the foggy landscape of the British lines that morning.

The American motorcycle courier Leon George Roth noted that in the sudden quiet, he could hear his watch ticking.

Near the Moselle River in northeastern France, recording equipment that had been tracking the thunder of artillery flatlined.

It was 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 - a century ago Sunday - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Armistice Day.

Now called Veterans Day, in the United States, it was the end of World War I, the Great War, which had killed and maimed millions of people and turned parts of Europe into a wasteland.

[‘The soul of America’: The day Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated]

It was the end of four years of unimaginable calamity.

Men and women were killed on an industrial scale with poison gas, machine guns and flamethrowers. Combat became mechanized, and machines helped consume much of a generation of young men, including more than 100,000 Americans.

The conflict was so devastating that it was called "the war to end all wars." Surely nothing like it could ever happen again. But it left a legacy of grievance and disorder, and historians now see it as Act I of the two-part tragedy that culminated in World War II and still echoes today.

But in 1918, soldiers knew only that the war was over.

"No more horrors," British Lt. Col. William Murray wrote. "No more mud and misery. Just everlasting peace."

The battle-weary French Cpl. Louis Barthas wrote: "How many times had we thought about this blessed day. . . . How many times had we peered into the mysterious future, looking for this star of salvation."

In Washington that night, bonfires burned on the Ellipse, south of the White House.

This weekend, the solemn day is being marked across Europe at the battlefields and cemeteries of France and Belgium, and in the United States at the future site of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, at Washington National Cathedral and at Arlington National Cemetery.

World War I had lasted more than four years, pitting Germany and its allies against France, Britain, Russia and their allies. The United States entered the war late but played a crucial role in the victory.

It had started over the assassination of an Austrian archduke in 1914 and rapidly pulled in Europe's major powers via a tangle of alliances, and a certain eagerness to be tested in war. "God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour," the British poet Rupert Brooke wrote in 1914.

Battles went on for months, trapping the combatants in what historian Paul Fussell called a "troglodyte world" of squalid trenches and endless artillery barrages.

In his book "The Great War and Modern Memory," Fussell calculated that there were 25,000 miles of trench lines on the Western Front, enough to encircle the Earth.

Between the trenches was the toxic, uninhabitable "no man's land," infected with putrefying corpses, rats and chemical agents, and swept by machine-gun fire.

In such conditions, the British and French fought the Germans at the Battle of the Somme from July 1 until November 1916. On just the first day, almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed.

At the Battle of Verdun, the Germans fought the French for nine months in 1916. The Germans suffered 325,000 casualties, including more than 140,000 men killed. French losses were about the same.

In the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the Americans and the French fought the Germans for six weeks in 1918. Twenty-six thousand Americans were killed - the most of any battle in American history.

Some soldiers, called "Neverendians," thought the war would go on forever and become "the permanent condition of mankind," Fussell wrote, "like the telephone and the internal combustion engine, a part of the accepted atmosphere of the modern experience."

- - -

On Nov. 9, 1918, two German generals went to a stately mansion outside the Belgian town of Spa to call on the 59-year-old German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The army was collapsing, the Kaiser was told. Armistice terms demanded by the Allies must be accepted. The war had been a disaster for Germany. Back home, the people were in revolt.

The kaiser, who bore much of the blame for fueling the war, objected.

"I shall remain at Spa, and then lead my troops back to Germany," he replied, according to historian Joseph Persico.

"Sire, you no longer have an army," said Chief of Staff Gen. Wilhelm Groener.

The kaiser agreed to abdicate and seek refuge in Holland. But as he was pondering a draft of his statement renouncing the throne, a German telegraph agency, tipped to what was coming, broke the news: The kaiser was finished.

"Treason, gentlemen!" the kaiser bellowed when he heard of the report. "Barefaced, outrageous treason!"

- - -

The armistice was signed at 5:10 a.m. in a railroad car in the Forest of Compiegne, northeast of Paris, an event described in Persico's 2004 book, "Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour."

But it didn't go into effect until 11 a.m.

All the soldiers had to do was stay alive until then.

"I am as nervous as a kitten," the British sergeant Cude wrote. "If I can only last out the remainder of the time, and this is everyone's prayer. I am awfully sorry for those of our chaps who are killed this morning and there must be a decent few of them too."

Indeed, in some places, the war went on insanely right up to 11 a.m.

At 10:45 a.m., the American 313th regiment - Baltimore's Own - had already taken the town of Ville-devant-Chaumont. But the brigade commander, Brig. Gen. William Nicholson, had ordered "no let up" until 11.

At that moment, Henry Gunther, a draftee from East Baltimore, was pinned down in the fog by two German machine guns. Gunther had been an employee of the National Bank of Baltimore. But he was of German descent, had relatives in Germany, and worried that his comrades thought he was a sympathizer, according to Persico and old newspaper stories.

[Commemorating the ‘Great War,’ America’s forgotten conflict]

He tried to prove he wasn't by an almost reckless action, his fellow Doughboys said later.

"We couldn't see them, but we hugged the ground and sent a lot of rifle fire in the direction of the position," Gunther's buddy Ernest Powell recalled of the moment many years later.

"Gunther, who was lying by my side, suddenly jumped up and ran into the fog toward the Germans," Powell wrote in the Baltimore Sun Magazine in 1968.

A 1919 report in the Sun, gathered from Gunther's buddies by a former Sun reporter, said that as Gunther charged, the Germans yelled and waved him back. But he kept on, firing with an automatic rifle. Finally, one of the machine guns fired a short burst.

"That was the end of the war for Henry Gunther," Powell wrote.

It was 10:59 a.m. Gunther is believed to be the last American killed in World War I and one of the estimated 2,700 men killed on both sides on the Western Front on the war's last day.

Shortly after 11, the German gunners emerged, put Gunther's body on a stretcher and carried it into the American lines.

They had to shoot him, they said, because he wouldn't stop, and it was either him or them.

- - -

The night before, amid rumors of an armistice, the American 115th Infantry Regiment, an outfit from Maryland, had received what one of its chaplains called a death sentence.

Battered by bloody weeks at the front, where several men had committed suicide and others had suffered self-inflicted wounds, the regiment had been resting and recovering behind the lines.

But on Nov. 10, the 115th had been ordered to move out and join the assault on the ancient fortress city of Metz, then in Germany, scheduled for Nov. 14.

"All hopes were dashed," the chaplain, Lt. Frederick Reynolds, wrote. They would be returning to "hell."

The following morning, "we rolled our packs . . . and with heavy hearts turned grim faces toward Metz," he recalled after the war.

But just before the march began, came word of the armistice.

There would be no attack on Metz. The war was over.

"You can imagine - no, you can't imagine, it is impossible for anyone to imagine who did not experience it - the sense of relief and pure joy," he wrote. "The feeling of gratitude was too deep for noisy expression. . . . We quietly looked at each other, whispered a 'Thank God,' and wondered if it could really be true."

Across France, church bells rang, and people sang "La Marseillaise." In Paris, delirious citizens poured into the streets, linked arms, and clambered on top of trucks and cars. Veterans with crutches and empty coat sleeves joined in.

In the German trenches, joyous soldiers shouted that the war was over, and threw weapons and gear toward the American lines, according to Persico.

In London, at 11, Big Ben tolled for the first time in four years. Crowds rejoiced outside Buckingham Palace. In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Lloyd George said, "I hope we may say that . . . on this fateful morning, came to an end all wars."

But some men weren't so happy.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. George Patton Jr., for one, was dismayed that it was over. The future World War II hero wrote a bleak poem, "Peace - November 11, 1918," in which he longed for more combat, according to National Archives historian Mitchell Yockelson.

I stood in the flag-decked cheering crowd

Where all but I were gay ...

Another distraught soldier was a German veteran recovering in a hospital after being gassed. A clergyman broke the news of the armistice to the patients.

"I tottered . . . my way back to the dormitory, threw myself on my bunk, and dug my burning head into my blankets and pillow," he wrote later. "That night I resolved that, if I recovered . . . I would enter politics."

The soldier was Adolf Hitler.

Commemorating the ‘Great War,’ America’s forgotten conflict

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 14:20

World War I was still a living memory for most Americans when I was growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Aging doughboys who had fought on the Western Front in 1917 and 1918 still marched on Veterans Day. These World War I enlisted men often referred to this holiday by its original name, Armistice Day.

My mother invariably bought and wore an artificial red poppy on Veterans Day. I learned much later the poppy signified the blood and sacrifice of those who died on Flanders Field, a Belgian battle site that was the subject of the war's most famous poem.

With the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on Nov. 11, 2018, as a scholar who has spent my career studying war in 20th century America, I am struck by the degree to which World War I has faded from popular memory.

Few Americans can name a single battle from this conflict. Heroes such as "Ace of Aces" fighter pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and "the greatest civilian soldier of the war," Alvin York are no longer household names.

Even fewer Americans remember the distinguished record of the Harlem Hell Fighters and other black regiments attached to the French army.

The fact that World War I is the forgotten war for Americans serves as a cautionary tale that some important memories can fade despite sustained efforts to foster them.

On Nov. 11, 1921, the official first unknown soldier is buried in this tomb in Arlington National Cemetery. U.S. Army

Memorials proliferated

World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, eventually pitting Germany, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria against Belgium, France and its empire, Great Britain and its Empire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Italy, Japan, China, Portugal and a number of smaller nations.

The U.S. was officially neutral at the beginning of the war. Most Americans saw no compelling argument to send American troops to fight Europe's war abroad. Late in the war, and only after a divisive debate and German submarine attacks that caused the death of Americans, did the United States enter the conflict in 1917.

The United States' entry into the war ensured the European balance of war and avoided German dominance on the continent. The victory achieved on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11:00 a.m. would be commemorated by Americans as the "war to end all wars."

In its aftermath, the war was publicly acknowledged in a variety of ways. The generation that went to war in 1917 transmitted its memory through the thousands of memorials they built, the Memorial Day holiday, and in their memoirs of war as a glorious endeavor.

Under the auspices of the American Battle Monuments Commission, they established overseas national cemeteries for the war's dead and erected monuments in France and the United Kingdom.

They created a new way of mourning the war dead with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the unidentified dead received a state funeral and burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Indeed, World War I marked the first time that many countries systematically created graves for all soldiers, whether they could be identified or not.

And in Paris in 1919, American veterans of World War I founded the American Legion, which is still the nation's largest veterans organization.

Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial, in Waregem, Belgium, where 411 American soldiers who died in WWI are buried. Library of Congress

Bitter debates

What has been lost along with the memory of the war is the memory of the bitter debates that engulfed the United States in the decades after the war, the 1920s and 1930s. When researching my dissertation and first book, Remembering War the American Way, I was stunned by how virtually every aspect of commemorating the war engendered debate during the interwar period.

For instance, the decision to build overseas cemeteries for the war dead faced challenges from parents of many of the fallen who wanted to bury their sons in hometown cemeteries. In the end, the federal government retreated from keeping all the war dead in cemeteries abroad and allowed families to decide whether a doughboy who died for his country would be buried at home or in one of the overseas cemeteries.

During my eighth-grade class trip to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1974, I remember how impressed we were at the spit and polish of the ceremony marking the changing of the guard. In fact, the origins of this ceremony and even the need for a guard in the first place stems from complaints of the American Legion in the 1920s that tourists were picnicking on the unfinished tomb and, even worse, that juvenile delinquents were playing games on them.

Memorials and division

Those who build memorials are often implicitly aiming to accomplish something other than memorializing.

In the case of World War I, the memorials were intended to heal and mask regional, ethnic and ideological divisions. For instance, the Unknown Soldier was hailed as an everyman because he could be rich and poor, native born or foreign born, a city dweller or a farmer.

The paradox of these efforts to forge memories in stone, marble, and copper is that memorials are often overshadowed by the controversies they are intended to heal.

Although memorials to World War I proclaimed that Americans had fought a "war to end all wars," the post-war world remained perilous. Many elements contributed to the growing danger: A return of American isolationism, the war debt owed to the U.S. by European allies, the crushing of "Prussian militarism" that led to the birth of communist Russia and the fascism that took hold of Italy in the early 1920s.

Memorials sought to display the unity of all Americans, but the terrible legacy of World War I was the fear it engendered. During the war, German Americans were persecuted by vigilantes because of their ancestry. Despite the patriotic service of scores of new Americans from southern and eastern Europe, the U.S. Congress passed legislation restricting immigration of what were deemed undesirable immigrants from these regions.

Why have Americans forgotten World War I?

Perhaps the answer is that World War II reshaped the memory of the First World War. The fact that another world war broke out in less than a generation discredited the notion that World War I was a "war to end all wars." As World War I faded into oblivion, it became easier to simply forget all the deep divisions engendered by this war for the more comforting narrative of World War II as the "good war".

Gabriela Baláž Maduro contributed to this story.

G. Kurt Piehler is a Florida-based writer and Associate Professor of History at Florida State University.

‘Very strong’ storm poised to strike Bering Sea communities

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 13:47

A powerful storm could menace Western Alaska communities with 60 mph gusts and floods starting Sunday, potentially causing damage in villages lacking coastal sea ice to stop waves.

The storm should generate high winds and surf along the extreme western Seward Peninsula and St.  Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea through Tuesday, said Tyler Rodenbaugh, a meteorologist with the agency in Fairbanks.

Tempests in the region have packed an extra punch in recent years as sea ice has shrunk, leaving coastal communities increasingly exposed to wave damage.

Storms shredded roads and other property in coastal communities last fall and winter, including Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow, leaving costly damage and leading to a state disaster declaration.

Residents in the village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island on Saturday were making sure boats and other items are secured, said Edmond Apassingok, 55, secretary for the village corporation.

The storm will be the village's first major storm this fall, he said.

Families typically have extra food on hand for situations like this, in case winds prevent planes from reaching the island for several days, he said.

"It will cause erosion on our northern beach," Apassingok said of the storm, though the ocean shouldn't reach the road, he said.

The weather service is calling for winds from the northeast between 35 mph and 45 mph. Gusts could reach 60 mph.

The agency has issued a high-wind warning for the region, with slight chance of snow and rain. It's keeping an eye on the system to determine if further warnings are necessary, said Rodenbaugh.

"We're expecting elevated water levels, and strong winds affecting east-facing and north-facing shorelines," he said.

A "very strong" low-pressure system is moving in from the west, generating the winds, he said. The winds could also causing flooding along coasts, the agency said.

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A strong storm system will impact portions of the Bering Sea early next week. Northeasterly winds from this system are...

Posted by US National Weather Service Alaska on Friday, November 9, 2018

Alaska chickadees are brainier than their southern counterparts

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 13:43

A black-capped chickadee at 40 below zero. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska chickadees have proven themselves brainier than Colorado chickadees.

A researcher at the University of California Davis once compared black-capped chickadees from Anchorage to chickadees from Windsor, Colorado, and found that the Alaska birds cached more sunflower seeds and found the seeds quicker when they later searched for them. The Alaska chickadees also had brains that contained more neurons than those of Colorado chickadees.

Vladimir Pravosudov of the UC Davis psychology department performed the study to test the notion that northern birds would be better at hiding and finding seeds than birds in a more moderate climate.

He chose to capture birds in Anchorage, which has a day length of about 5 hours, 30 minutes on Dec. 22, and compare them to birds he captured near Windsor, about 50 miles north of Denver, where the Dec. 22 day length is about 9 hours, 15 minutes.

With the help of biologist Colleen Handel of the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage, Pravosudov captured 15 black-capped chickadees using a mist net at bird feeders around Anchorage in fall 2000. He later captured 12 black-capped chickadees near Windsor.

All the birds went to his lab in Davis, where he gave them the same food and amount of daylight for 45 days. After 45 days he tested eight birds from Alaska and eight from Colorado in a room with 70 caching holes drilled in wooden blocks and trees.

In late summer through fall, black-capped chickadees gather and hide seeds, insects and other foods to retrieve later, when they have fewer hours of daylight to feed and less food is available. Though black-capped chickadees live their entire lives within a few square acres, the species ranges from as far north as Anaktuvuk Pass in Alaska to as far south as New Mexico.

All black-capped chickadees cache food, but Pravosudov and other researchers wanted to find out whether northern birds are better at hiding and finding food because of shorter days and colder temperatures.

The tests supported that theory. The Alaska birds cached about twice as many sunflower seeds as the Colorado birds and later found them with about one quarter as many tries per seed. The Alaska birds performed about the same as the Colorado birds on a test of learning to associate a color with a food, but Pravosudov said the Alaska birds also had a larger hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to memory.

The results of the experiment did not surprise Susan Sharbaugh, an expert on chickadees formerly with the University of Alaska's Institute of Arctic Biology. Alaska's winters probably do a good job of favoring birds that have good memories, she said.

"It's a great example of natural selection," she said. "Tough winters winnow out the ones that can't remember where their caches are. In the Lower 48, if a chickadee has a good memory, it's fine; up here you have to have a great memory."

‘The soul of America’: The day Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 12:20

Honor guards patrol the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken (Astrid Riecken/)

Arlington National Cemetery had never seen a funeral quite like the one that was held the morning of Nov. 11, 1921. The nation’s highest military officers were there, along with congressional leaders, Supreme Court justices, diplomats from around the world and a crowd so huge the president’s car was forced to drive across fields for him to get there in time.

An "homage of a hundred million" was how one breathless headline writer described the unprecedented turnout and a funeral that took up nearly the entire front page of the next day's Washington Post.

It was a historic honor for one person, although no one in attendance knew who that person was.

Today, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is as solid in the public psyche as its massive marble slabs are heavy on that hallowed ground. The resting place of one "hero known but to God" sits at the center of national remembrance, drawing millions of visitors a year and an annual pilgrimage from the commander in chief.

Before that autumn morning, there had been no such tradition. Monuments to the unnamed dead had always been collective. The original site of Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington was an enormous ossuary containing bones from 2,111 soldiers gathered from Civil War battlefields.

But the killing technologies of World War I brought new levels of identity-wiping devastation. More than 116,000 Americans were slaughtered, including 1,652 who were too damaged to be identified.

"People could be atomized by a shell fired from five miles away," said Philip Bigler, the former of historian at Arlington National Cemetery and author of a soon-to-be-released book, "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of Honor."

Britain, which suffered even greater losses, didn't allow its dead to be brought home for burial to avoid years of disheartening and politically destabilizing funerals.

Instead, on Nov. 11, 1920, the second anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, the British military buried an unknown casualty at Westminster Abbey with state honors. France, likewise, interred an unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.

In Washington, decorated World War I veteran and Rep. Hamilton Fish of New York proposed the United States do the same. New York City offered to host the memorial in its new Pershing Square. Some lawmakers wanted to put the body in the crypt beneath the Capitol Rotunda that had been designed for - and refused by - George Washington. But in March 1921, Congress approved a measure to locate the tomb in front of the newly constructed Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington.

For Fish, who led the African-American Harlem Hellfighters in combat, the key was to honor a soldier who could have been of any rank or race. "The whole purpose of this resolution is to bring home the body of an unknown American warrior who in himself represents no section, creed, or race," Fish said in congressional testimony, "who typified, moreover, the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of her heroic dead."

As work started on the tomb, officers in Europe began the tricky work of finding a suitably unidentified body to fill it.

It took tremendous efforts to keep the Unknown Soldier from being known, even just a little bit. Officials didn't want anyone to suss out even where the soldier had been killed - be it Belleau Wood, Marne or Meuse-Argonne - so he could better represent every casualty.

To start, they disinterred four sets of remains from American battlefield cemeteries in France and made doubly sure there was no way to get a trace on their identities, no scrape of a letter, rosary or distinguishing mark.

On Oct. 23, they arrived at the village of Châlons-sur-Marne. In a specially decorated room in the city hall, the unmarked coffins were placed on their shipping crates, which had been draped with American flags to conceal any hint of which cemetery they had come from. A combined French and American honor guard stood post.

Early the next morning, an American major shuffled the coffins again, putting them on crates other than their own. With a crowd of onlookers outside, a military band in the courtyard and senior officers lining the corridor, a much-decorated American enlisted man, Sgt. Edward F. Younger, entered the chamber carrying a spray of white roses. After circling the four caskets more than once, Younger placed the roses on one, stepped back, and saluted it.

That morning, the Unknown Soldier began an unprecedented ceremonial journey from Northeastern France to a bluff over the Potomac River. (The three unselected bodies were buried not far from Paris.)

The casket, still carrying its spray of roses, was rolled through town on a caisson, escorted by Army units from both countries, generals, military bands, Boy Scouts and American Legionnaires. Local widows, many in black, lined the route to the railroad station.

An honor guard stayed with the casket day and night during its rail journey to Paris and then to the port of Le Harve, where more crowds, speeches and salutes awaited.

Schoolchildren threw flower petals as they proceeded to the docks. Six sailors and two Marines took possession of the casket from the Army body bearers and carried it to a place of honor at the stern of the USS Olympia. A 17-gun salute boomed around the port as the cruiser and its escorting destroyer put to sea, followed at the start by eight French naval vessels.

"The French very much appreciated the United States coming over there," said Bigler. "There was a sense that this had been an American victory."

Two weeks later, the Olympia docked at the Washington Navy Yard and the pomp continued. The ship was greeted by the Army chief of staff, the Marine commandant, the secretaries of the Navy and Army, and Gen. John J. Pershing.

Following an enormous and meticulously timed procession to the Capitol, the Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Rotunda, his casket resting on the platform, or catafalque, built for Abraham Lincoln. Among the first to pay respects were President Warren G. Harding. His wife, Florence, placed a ribbon next to the spray of roses. More than 90,000 people passed through on Nov. 10.

The next day - Armistice Day (now called Veterans Day) - the walking parade from the Capitol to Arlington was a "Procession Without Parallel," according to the next day's Post.

The soldier's caisson was accompanied by the president, chief justice, Pershing and the chiefs of staff, members of Congress, more than 40 fraternal group and Medal of Honor winners marching four abreast. Only former president Woodrow Wilson, who had suffered a stroke, rode in a carriage.

"All America, Rich and Poor, Aged and Young, President and Commoner, Solemnly Bares Head to Unknown Hero," read a headline.

More than 5,000 tickets has been distributed, swamping the capacity of the amphitheater. Fish laid a wreath, as did Chief Plenty Coups, leader of the Crow Nation. Following the ceremonies, the soldier was lowered onto a layer of soil from France and a three-volley salute salute fired.

It would be a decade before the budget process allowed the simple slab to be replaced with the sculpted Colorado marble tomb that is there today, its sunset-facing side bearing the familiar epitaph: "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD."

Nearly a century later, countless flowers and wreaths have been placed before the tomb (and the unknown fallen from World War II and Korea that came in later years), laid by presidents and veterans and the simply grateful. Within the stone, beneath the dust of ancient white roses, rests a nameless soldier known around the world.

New edition of a solo kayak adventure will charm and inspire

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 12:18

Paddling North: A Solo Adventure Along the Inside Passage, by Audrey Sutherland. Patagonia Works, 2018 paperback. 303 pages. $16.95.

In 1980, at the age of 60, a high school counselor in Hawaii decided it was time to do something for herself and set out on a solo kayak trip from Ketchikan to Skagway. She not only completed this — 850 miles in 85 days — but returned for twenty more summers to again kayak through Alaska's Inside Passage. The story of her first journey is told in this remarkable book, first published in 2012 and now available in a beautiful paperback edition.

Audrey Sutherland, who died three years ago at age 94, was a truly amazing and inspiring person, as well as a lovely writer. In Hawaii, she tells us, before she could afford any kind of boat she used to swim around the islands, "towing a bag of gear and camping in the valleys." (An earlier book about this, "Paddling My Own Canoe: A Solo Adventure on the Coast of Molokai," has also just been reprinted by Patagonia.)

“Paddling North: A Solo Adventure Along the Inside Passage” (Courtesy Patagonia Works)

The boat Sutherland depended upon in Alaska was a nine-foot-long, yellow, inflatable "plastic canoe" without a rudder. Her main consideration in choosing it, aside from its low cost, was that she could bring it in a duffle from Hawaii and carry it by herself up and down beaches. It weighed eighteen pounds. Her creed: go simple, go solo, go now.

Sutherland planned meticulously for her adventure — drying and packaging foods, studying maps and charts, mailing ahead packages to meet her at post offices in a handful of communities, and reserving Forest Service cabins for ten nights, to take a break from camping in rain. A goal she set for herself was to visit nine hot springs en route, and her search and descriptions of these — some found and others not — are one of the delights here. (She was to find that many features on her maps and charts, including cabins, trails, and even one water passage, no longer existed. Time and tide, even isostatic rebound — the lift of land after the last glacial period — were then and still are reshaping the coastline.)

In what she refers to as her "epicurean spoof," Sutherland details many of her meals. These may leave even an armchair reader jealous — that she could put together such gorgeous, mouth-watering meals while the rest of us, in our home kitchens, settle for toast and canned soup. Here's one she prepared for herself: "First the hot wet oshibori washcloth, the hot sake to sip, sushi rolled in black nori seaweed, miso soup, a mound of hot rice, a tempura assortment of fresh mussels, rehydrated mushrooms, and fucus seaweed, and finally smoked oysters from a can." She did not forget the powered wasabi for her sushi. Then there was the mug of tea and a sweetened black-bean paste for dessert. She ate with spruce chopsticks she whittled on the spot.

Anther time, when she had the use of a cabin, she made and canned kelp pickles, using glass jars she collected from beaches. She carried these to her next post office stop and mailed them home to Hawaii.

Many of her recipes (paella valenciana, Portuguese bean soup, and fruit dumplings among them), with camp cookery tips, are included with the text, along with detailed maps showing her route, campsites, and key landmarks. Colorful block prints of landscapes, wildlife, and that yellow canoe add to the whole effect.

Always, the author's writing is insightful and charming, with truly beautiful descriptive passages. Often it's also humorous.

Here she is, camping on a sunny day, with laundry hung to dry and herself in a hammock made from seine web she found on the beach: "I lay bare in the sun, listening, dreaming, melting like a lighted candle into the earth. It was strange to see my bare feet again. They usually went from boot to bed to boot again, without taking off the socks. They looked quite fragile. My hands, however, are tools — pliers, carabiners, vise grips, antennae, turnbuckles. I should spray them with Rustoleum."

Mostly alone, she relished her solitude. On occasion, she met up with other boaters or fishermen, or residents of the few and far communities where she stopped. "There is a rhythm to this country: hard paddling and rest, rain and sun, wind and calm, hide tide and low tide. A sense of space and the far-off throb of a diesel tugboat. A forest enclosure and the chirp of a tiny brown bird. People and a sense of being human, then a week of being a solo animal in an animal world. A dozen dragonflies hovering, then soaring out of sight. The mite of a red spider crawling over my toe."

"Paddling North," while it can locate readers to specific coves, beaches, current-rushed straits, and even hot springs in Southeast Alaska, is not a guidebook. Rather, it is a sort of guide to life, a sharing of one adventurer's philosophy and her love for what she finds in nature, in testing herself, and in deep thinking. It stretches far past "I went there, I did this" into an examination of life akin to the work of Thoreau, Muir, E. B. White, and others she quotes along the way. She also brings into her text her cultural knowledge of Hawaii and what she learns along the way of Alaska history and indigenous knowledge.

In our age of high-tech clothing and equipment, guided trips, and lives that are circumscribed in so many ways, Audrey Sutherland shows us a life of purposeful self-realization. "Paddling North," previously known mostly within the kayaking world, deserves to become a beloved classic. "Go simple, so solo, go now."

Nancy Lord is a Homer-based writer and former Alaska writer laureate. Her books include "Fishcamp," "Beluga Days," and "Early Warming." Her latest book is "pH: A Novel."

Recount to begin in Florida Senate, governor’s races, in echo of 2000 presidential election

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 11:10

Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott smiles as he speaks to supporters at an election watch party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Naples, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee/)

As heavily Democratic counties in South Florida scrambled to meet a Saturday deadline to report election returns, Republican Rick Scott’s lead over Democrat Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race shrunk to just 12,562 votes out of nearly 8.2 million votes cast, ensuring a recount.

Vote totals posted Saturday showed the margin in the marquee race in the nation's biggest battleground state at .015 percent, close enough to trigger a recount by machine. Also hitting that threshold was the race for governor between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, who is sitting on slightly bigger cushion of 33,684 votes over Gillum.

In Broward and Palm Beach counties Saturday morning, attorneys from both parties quibbled over ballots in which the intent or eligibility of the voter was in doubt as the minutes ticked toward a noon deadline. Scott's narrowing lead as vote-counting continued this week has provoked litigation and raucous street protests reminiscent of the contentious 2000 election, as well as accusations by President Donald Trump of "election theft."

Scott, who has also raised allegations of fraud, used his bully pulpit Saturday to encourage Florida sheriffs to keep an eye out for any violations of election laws.

But the claims by the president and the governor were undercut Saturdayby the Florida Department of State, which said in a statement it found "no evidence of criminal activity at this time." The department, which oversees elections, had sent two monitors to observe Tuesday's vote in Broward County as result of a lawsuit over the mishandling of ballots in a 2016 congressional race.

A spokeswoman for the state department, Sarah Revell, said the observers were sent to "monitor the administration of the election, including visiting polling locations throughout the day as needed and observing preparation of the voting equipment and procedures for the election." The monitors have continued to monitor the vote-counting this week.

Nelson has accused Scott of using the power of his office to try to secure his Senate victory. Earlier this week, the governor called for state law enforcement to investigate the voting in South Florida - a probe that the state agency has so far declined to begin because the state department has not presented any allegations of fraud.

Under Florida law, a statewide machine recount is conducted when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, and a manual recount is ordered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent. The governor's race does not appear to meet the manual recount standard, according to Saturday's tally.

A manual recount is defined as "a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes set aside from the machine recount," centering on ballots in which voters skipped a race or voted for two candidates in one race.

Officials from both parties have focused much of their ire on Brenda Snipes, supervisor of elections in Broward County, Forida's second-largest county and the site of the "hanging chads" and other ballot irregularities during the 2000 presidential recount.

In a brief interview, Snipes brushed off the criticism. "It's kind of like a hurricane, where things get really stirred up for a while and then it passes," she said. "I don't know when this will pass, but it will."

The battle is also playing out on a national level, as the Scott campaign arranged for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to complain about the vote-counting in a call with reporters. He compared the situation in Florida to the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham encouraged Scott to report to Washington next week for orientation for new senators, regardless of the recount. "If the recount goes, the recount goes," said Graham.

Scott campaign manager Jackie Schutz Zeckman said the governor's team was still working on his schedule.

- - -

The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.

Millennial men leave perplexing hole in hot US job market

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 11:04

Job seekers arrive for a Shades of Commerce Career Fair in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Feb. 7, 2018. Bloomberg photo by Gabby Jones. (Gabby Jones/)

Nathan Butcher is 25 and, like many men his age, he isn’t working.

Weary of long days earning minimum wage, he quit his job in a pizzeria in June. He wants new employment but won't take a gig he'll hate. So for now, the Pittsburgh native and father to young children is living with his mother and training to become an emergency medical technician, hoping to get on the ladder toward a better life.

Ten years after the Great Recession, 25- to 34-year-old men are lagging in the workforce more than any other age and gender demographic. About 500,000 more would be punching the clock today had their employment rate returned to pre-downturn levels. Many, like Butcher, say they're in training. Others report disability. All are missing out on a hot labor market and crucial years on the job, ones traditionally filled with the promotions and raises that build the foundation for a career.

"At some point, you can have a bit of an effect of a lost generation," according to David Dorn, an economist at the University of Zurich. "If you get to the point where you're turning 30, you've never held a real job and you don't have a college education, then it is very hard to recover at that point."

Men -- long America's economically privileged gender -- have been dogged in recent decades by high incarceration and swollen disability rates. They hemorrhaged high-paying jobs after technology and globalization hit manufacturing and mining.

The young ones have fared particularly badly. Many of them exited high school into a world short on middle-skill job opportunities, only to be broadsided by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Employment plummeted across the board during the 2007 to 2009 recession, and 25- to 34-year-old men fell far behind their slightly-older counterparts.

Though employment rates have been climbing back from the abyss, young men never caught up again. Millennial males remain less likely to hold down a job than the generation before them, even as women their age work at higher rates.

Their absence from the working world has wider economic consequences. It marks a loss of human talent that dents potential growth. Young people who get a rocky start in the job market face a lasting pay penalty. And economists partly blame the decline in employed, marriageable men for the recent slide in nuptials and increase in out-of-wedlock births. Those trends foster economic insecurity among families, which could worsen outcomes for the next generation.

Butcher has a high-school diploma and a resume filled with low-wage jobs from Target and Walmart to a local grocery store. He's being selective as he searches for new work because he doesn't want to grind out unhappy hours for unsatisfying compensation.

"I'm very quick to get frustrated when people refuse to pay me what I'm worth," he said. His choosiness could be a generational trait, he allows. His mother worked to support her three kids, whether she liked her job or not.

"That was the template for that generation: you were either working and unhappy, or you were a mooch," he said. "People feel that they have choice nowadays, and they do."

There is no one explanation for what's sidelining men -- data suggest overlapping trends -- but Butcher sits at a revealing vantage point. His demographic has seen the single biggest jump in non-participation among prime-age men over the past two decades: About 14 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds with just a high-school degree weren't in the labor force in 2016, up from 6.4 percent in 1996, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City analysis by economist Didem Tuzemen.

It's difficult to pin down whether the demographic wants to remain on the sidelines or is kept there by a dearth of attractive options. They could be choosing to stay home or enroll in school because well paying, non-degree jobs in industries like manufacturing are fewer and further between. But it isn't clear why lost opportunity would hit young men hardest.

Other social changes could be exacerbating the trend. Better video games might make leisure time more attractive, some economists hypothesize, and opioid use might make many less employable. Young adults increasingly live with their parents, and cohabitation might be providing a "different form of insurance," said Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago.

So the question looms: Is the group's employment decline permanent? Survey data may offer clues.

Young men have been reporting higher rates of school and training as a reason for their non-employment in a Labor Department survey, and a large share say that disability and illness are keeping them from work. Those factors explain much of the wider post-2007 participation gap between 25- to 34-year-olds and their older counterparts, according to an analysis by Evercore ISI economist Ernie Tedeschi.

Disability insurance overall has begun to fall amid economic gains, so young men offering that explanation might start working again, Tedeschi said.

As for school and training, it's not obvious that the move toward higher enrollment will reverse -- or that it should.

"Education doesn't necessarily strike me as a policy failure," Tedeschi said.

Butcher, for one, hopes EMT training at The Community College of Allegheny County will be a first step toward a career in health care. He wants to earn enough to provide security for his son and daughter, who live with their mother.

“It’s a good start to a career,” he said.

Alaska psychologist sentenced in child porn case

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 10:52

Federal prosecutors say a 51-year-old Anchorage child psychologist has been sentenced to four years in federal prison in a child pornography case.

Prosecutors say Russell Cherry also was sentenced Friday to 15 years of supervised release after he earlier pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography possession.

According to prosecutors, Cherry used a file-sharing network in summer 2017 to download videos and images showing child sexual exploitation.

Prosecutors say the FBI and Anchorage police executed a search warrant at Cherry's home in August 2017 and found several images depicting child pornography on devices belonging to Cherry.

According to prosecutors, Cherry at the time admitted searching for such images and downloading them for his own curiosity.

Prosecutors say Cherry worked as a neuropsychologist treating children until his indictment in June.

Plan ahead for the smoothest possible flights during the holiday season

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 10:47

A passenger jet takes off from Ronald Regan National Airport in Washington. (AP file/J. David Ake)

Here we go again.

Alaskans are gearing up for holiday travel. The day before Thanksgiving — Nov. 21 this year — is the busiest travel day of the year, just ahead of the following Sunday. That's a warmup for the extended Christmas travel season, Dec. 14 to Jan. 6.

Do you have your airline tickets already? I hope so. If not, you can expect to pay a premium for prime dates. You can fly from Anchorage to Seattle in early December for $111 one-way on Delta. But a ticket on the Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 22, costs $444 one-way on Alaska. A flight back from Seattle to Anchorage costs $446 one-way on Jan. 5.

The airports will be busy. The lines will be long, and usually there's some fog in Seattle to really mess up the flight schedules. Most of the flights will be full.

Do you have a packing strategy? I try my best not to check anything. Earlier this year, Alaska reduced the size of allowable carry-on bags to 22 inches long (down from 24 inches), 14 inches high (down from 17 inches) and 9 inches wide (down from 10 inches). If you have to check bags, be sure to grab any medicine, camera gear or anything you don't want stolen out of your luggage.

If you are a member of Alaska Air's Club 49, you get two free checked bags flying from or to Alaska. Otherwise, you're going to pay — and prices have gone up: $30 for the first bag. If you're an elite-level flyer or if you charged your ticket on an airline credit card, you can get a break. Otherwise, prepare to pay.

You can transport unloaded firearms (rifles, shotguns and pistols) when you present them in locked, hard-sided containers. Of course, you can't carry them onto the plane. Travelers must be aware of local gun laws, as they vary by city and state.

Do you have a ride to the airport? There's plenty of parking at the airport. But the lots can fill up at peak travel times. The best move is to get a ride right to the curb at check-in.

Before you leave for the airport, check online to see that your flight is on time. Also, you can check in and print bag tags a day in advance. That will save you time at the crowded airport!

The TSA is the TSA. Travelers should budget extra time because of long lines. Traveling during the holidays is one of the times when the Global Entry card really comes in handy. The side benefit is that you usually get access to the "pre-check" line at security. Global Entry costs $100 for five years, although my credit card (Chase Sapphire Reserve) reimbursed me for the charge. The Chase card costs $450 per year, though. Applicants for Global Entry have to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire and submit to a personal interview and fingerprinting. Several other credit cards (American Express and Citibank) also offer Global Entry reimbursement.

Do you need travel insurance? Nobody plans on having an accident. But if you need to change or cancel your trip, travel insurance can save you a lot of money. Your credit card may provide some insurance. For example, the Alaska Airlines Visa card covers baggage loss (but not expenses for delayed bags). My Chase card covers collision damage for rental cars, as well as some emergency travel assistance. You can check with your home and car insurance providers to see what they offer, if anything. I just bought a travel insurance policy from Allianz. You can shop and compare travel insurance plans online at sites like Squaremouth.com and InsureMyTrip.com.

Do you want food on the plane? The last time I flew Alaska Airlines, they were out of the fruit-and-cheese platters because they'd all been reserved ahead of time. Keep that in mind if you want that, or purchase something at the airport to take on board.

Do you want to watch a movie on board? Alaska Air still rents the tablets, but more and more people are bringing their own devices. You can stream movies and music to your iPhone or iPad, as long as you've downloaded the Gogo app in advance. Delta and United have seat-back entertainment but also allow for streaming on board.

Do you have must-fly gadgets for the plane? While Alaska Air includes disposable earphones with their tablet rentals, I always bring my own headphones. Also, while there are more power outlets now on board and at airports, I pack a portable charger for my phone and tablet. On my last flight between Anchorage and Kona, the light above my seat was burned out. Luckily, I had my Petzl headlamp as well as my portable book light.

Some travel advice works all year long: Get some rest before your trip and go easy on coffee and booze. Be kind and courteous. But many of the best tips and tricks change all the time: the best deals and how to find them, or the best credit card and mileage program. Check out the "Travel Secrets: Revealed!" event Wednesday (Disclaimer: I am the organizer of the event). It's over at the Alaska Aviation Museum, where we'll review the best strategies and tactics on how to travel more and spend less. It's $25 per person online in advance.

A letter to Alaska

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 09:39

This is a thank-you letter on my retirement from the Anchorage Daily News.

Thank you to the Daily News for sending me all over the state — from Ketchikan to the North Slope, from Northway to Attu Island. Over the past 33 years, I have been to all of Alaska's cities and many of the villages, photographing the people and places. Also thank you to the Daily News for hiring me after the Anchorage Times decided that I was not working out there.

I have photographed the scenic grandeur of Denali National Park and its wildlife, the rainforests of Southeast and the austere beauty of the Aleutian Islands and northern Alaska. Bears and moose, Dall sheep and birds and other life forms have passed in front of my camera, sometimes in incredibly beautiful locations.

Thanks to the family I have worked with at the Daily News. I have had the mentorship of great photo editors in Mike Campbell, Richard Murphy and Anne Raup. Looking at the photos of my colleagues on the photo staff has made me a better photographer. Working on stories with writers at the paper has been a real collaborative endeavor and a joy.

But most of all, I thank the people of Alaska. Thanks to everyone who said kind words about my photos and, especially, the people who opened their lives and homes to me and my cameras. Like the Anchorage couple I photographed fishing at DeLong Lake, who invited me home to photograph the fish they had drying on their back porch, braided in the traditional Western Alaska style. Or the Matanuska Valley Colony barn owners who welcomed this random stranger who made a cold call to ask if I could photograph their barn. The response: “Sure, let me get my jacket and show you around.”

Jeff King and family provided a place to sleep and fed us when we spent several days with them doing a story for the We Alaskans Sunday magazine. Martin Buser welcomed me to spend New Year’s Eve with his family.

Thank you to the many people in villages across Alaska who opened their homes and lives to my cameras and me. The family on Chirikof Island when we were doing a story on sea lions. Susie Silook, who hosted us for an amazing stay in Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island. The trapper in Beaver, in the Interior, who we went out with on snowmachines on his trap line at 30 below and stayed overnight in a wall tent.

One of my first trips for the paper was to stay with a family who lived remotely in a one-room cabin and trapped beaver. I had forgotten about that trip until I was looking at old photos. My wife remembered because I told her when I got home that I slept on the floor underneath the beavers hanging from the rafters. Going to the fish camp of Ida and Roy Alexie along the Kuskokwim River was one of the highlights of my time at the paper.

I have had the honor to record the people events and places of Alaska for the past 34 years. Photographing sweet moments like a boy and his puppy. Moments in the political life of our state. The Exxon Valdez oil spill and personal tragedies like fires and accidents. Thank you to the people who were gracious when I showed up to photograph what was one of the worst days of their lives.

Thanks to my wife and kids, who put up with me leaving home for weeks-long assignments -- and for a whole month while covering the oil spill.

Thank you, Alaska.

Although it is probably not a complete goodbye, I will still be around making pictures and you will probably see a few in the newspaper and online. After more than 45 years of photojournalism, I am not quite ready to hang up my cameras.

[Join us in a celebration of 65 collective years of Anchorage Daily News award-winning photojournalism. Visual journalists Bob Hallinen and Erik Hill will be on hand at King Street Brewing Co., 9050 King St. in Anchorage, on Thursday, Nov. 15th from 5-8 p.m. Enjoy a beverage and join Bob and Erik as they show photos and talk about their combined 65 years of photography at the ADN.]

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

Official: Gunman apparently stopped shooting to post online

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 07:34

A bouquet of flowers, left by mourners, lays near the site of Wednesday's mass shooting, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Investigators continue to work to figure out why an ex-Marine opened fire Wednesday evening inside a Southern California country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Damian Dovarganes/)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Authorities trying to make sense of why a gunman killed 12 people at a Southern California bar are not publicly discussing what they’ve learned, but at least one Instagram post he made after beginning the massacre has emerged as an early focus.

Social media platforms have scrubbed that and any other posts following Wednesday night's massacre. But one law enforcement official said Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine, posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane.

Authorities also were investigating whether he believed his former girlfriend would be at the Borderline Bar and Grill, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A second law enforcement official, Ventura County Sheriff's Capt. Garo Kuredjian, said that — based on time stamps — the gunman apparently stopped shooting inside the bar and posted to Instagram. Kuredjian said he didn't know the content of any posts. Instagram and Facebook typically refuse to discuss individual accounts and did not respond to a request for comment.

Authorities described an attack of military efficiency. None of those injured was hurt by gunfire. When the gunman shot his .45-caliber pistol, he killed. As scores of police officers closed in, Long apparently shot and killed himself.

Several people who knew Long in the suburb of Thousand Oaks where the gunman went to high school and eventually moved back in with his mother described him in disturbing terms.

Long made others feel uncomfortable going back to his teens.

Dominique Colell, who coached girls' track and field at the high school where Long was a sprinter, remembers an angry young man who could be verbally and physically combative.

In one instance, Colell said Long used his fingers to mimic shooting her in the back of the head as she talked to another athlete. In another, he grabbed her rear and midsection after she refused to return a cellphone he said was his.

"I literally feared for myself around him," Colell said in an interview Friday. "He was the only athlete that I was scared of."

Pictures of Noel Sparks are seen during a candlelight vigil in Thousand Oaks , Calif., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. A gunman opened fire Wednesday evening inside a country music bar, killing multiple people. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (Ringo H.W. Chiu/)
Justin Veditz, left, and his girlfriend Taylor Van Molt hug during a vigil to remember victims of a mass shooting Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Veditz and Van Molt both were in attendance as terrified patrons hurled barstools through windows to escape or threw their bodies protectively on top of friends as a Marine combat veteran killed multiple people at a country music bar in an attack that added Thousand Oaks to the tragic roster of American cities traumatized by mass shootings. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Marcio Jose Sanchez/)

Colell said she wanted to kick Long off the team, but the boy’s coach urged her to reconsider because that could compromise his goal of joining the Marines. She relented when, at the next track meet, Long apologized in front of several coaches and administrators.

Attempts to get comment by phone and in person from officials at Newbury Park High School and its school district were unsuccessful. Both were closed because of a destructive wildfire in the area.

As investigators worked to figure out what set him off, President Donald Trump blamed mental illness, describing the gunman as "a very sick puppy" who had "a lot of problems." At the White House on Friday, Trump touted his efforts to fund work on post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans and ignored questions about stricter gun control laws.

Investigators have not commented on whether mental illness played a role in the rampage. But a mental health specialist who assessed Long after sheriff's deputies responded to a call about his agitated behavior last spring worried he might be suffering from PTSD.

The incident happened in April, when yelling and loud banging noises coming from the home Long shared with his mother prompted a next-door neighbor to call authorities. The mental health specialist concluded there were no grounds to have him involuntarily committed.

Among the dead in the shooting rampage were a sheriff’s sergeant gunned down as he entered the bar and a U.S. Navy veteran who survived last year’s massacre in which a gunman in a high-rise Las Vegas hotel killed 58 people at an outdoor country music festival.

Trump’s insults toward black reporters, candidates echo ‘historic playbooks,’ critics say

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 07:30

CNN journalist Abby Phillip asks President Donald Trump a question as he speaks with reporters before departing for France on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci/)

PARIS - President Trump’s verbal assaults against black reporters, candidates and lawmakers has renewed criticism that the president employs insults rooted in racist tropes aimed at making his African-American targets appear unintelligent, untrustworthy and unqualified.

Over the past several days, including before he left Washington for an Armistice Day ceremony here this weekend, Trump has launched personal attacks against a trio of black female journalists. He accused one of asking "a lot of stupid questions." He demanded another "sit down" at a news conference and followed up later by calling her a "loser." He lambasted a third for asking, in his view, a "racist question."

Trump recently called Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, D, a gubernatorial candidate in Florida, a "thief," and declared that Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the state Senate in Georgia and the Democratic candidate for governor there, was "not qualified" for the job. A feature of his campaign rallies ahead of Tuesday's elections was mocking Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a black lawmaker who has been highly critical of him, and calling her a "low-IQ person."

Trump's supporters say he fights all opponents with equal gusto, and he has gone after other reporters in an escalation of his war against the media since emerging from a bruising midterm election - most notably stripping the White House pass of CNN's Jim Acosta.

But the president's rhetoric toward prominent African Americans is being singled out as far more offensive.

"His supporters are right, he does attack everyone. That's clearly true," said Adia Harvey Wingfield, a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis who writes frequently about race and gender. "But there's also a clear commonality in the attacks he levels against people of color and black professionals. These are straight out of historic playbooks about black workers and professionals in particular - not being qualified, not being intelligent or having what it takes to succeed in a predominantly white environment."

The latest example came Friday when the president stopped on the South Lawn of the White House on his way to Marine One to field shouted questions from the assembled media. He was asked several questions about the role of Matthew Whitaker, who he appointed as acting attorney general Wednesday, as well as about several other topics.

But when Abby Phillip, a CNN correspondent, asked whether Trump wanted Whitaker to rein in the special counsel's ongoing Russia investigation, he snapped.

"What a stupid question that is," Trump replied to Phillip, who is black. "What a stupid question," he repeated, pointing his finger at her. "But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions."

The attack prompted an outpouring of support from fellow journalists, Democrats and others for Phillip, who previously covered the White House for The Washington Post. Many praised her for asking the most important and pertinent question of the day.

But Trump's supporters reveled in the exchange, holding it up as an example of Trump showing his tormentors who is the boss.

"If you ask stupid questions, be prepared for @realDonaldTrump to call you out. #MAGA," Harlan Z. Hill, a Republican operative and commentator, wrote on Twitter to his 171,000 followers, linking to a video clip of the exchange. The tweet had racked up more than 1,800 retweets and 5,000 "likes" within a few hours.

CNN's communications department defended Phillip, saying that "she asked the most pertinent question of the day. The @realDonaldTrump's personal insults are nothing new. And never surprising."

Several White House officials did not respond to a request for comment for this report.

Trump has assembled a largely white roster of senior advisers. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is the only African American among the Cabinet and senior White House staff.

Since taking office, the president has repeatedly questioned the intelligence of black public figures. Perhaps most vicious have been his persistent attacks on Waters as "low IQ" and calling her the de facto leader of the Democratic Party.

But Trump has similarly called CNN's Don Lemon the "dumbest man on television" and, after Lemon interviewed basketball star LeBron James, said in a tweet that the television anchor, who is black, "made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do." James had been critical of Trump, calling him a "bum" after the president revoked an invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House amid reports that the team didn't want to attend.

Trump also has called Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., "wacky" and disparaged his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as a "dog" after she wrote a tell-all book that accused him of using racist language.

"There is a pattern," said April Ryan, who has covered the White House for America Urban Radio Networks since President Bill Clinton's second term and now is also a CNN political analyst.

During a formal Trump news conference at the White House on Wednesday, Trump demanded that Ryan "sit down" after she repeatedly attempted to ask him a question about alleged voter suppression in the midterms. Trump was so steamed about it that he brought up the incident again Friday during his impromptu performance on the South Lawn, calling her a "loser" in a rambling answer to a question about Acosta.

In an interview, Ryan, who is black, noted that Trump often hails his accomplishments for African Americans, citing historically low unemployment rates during his rallies.

But "there's a lot of shock-and-awe moments that make you turn head and say 'Wow!'" she said. "Black people have been down this road before . . . name-calling, derogatory statement against those in this community who are held in high regard and hold positions to help. It's not going unnoticed."

Last year, Jemele Hill, a prominent sports journalist who is black, called Trump a "white supremacist" on Twitter, prompting White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to call it a "fireable offense." Hill was warned by her employer at the time, ESPN, and she called the remark inappropriate. She has since left ESPN.

More recently, Michael Cohen, who served for years as Trump's personal lawyer before they severed ties after Cohen was indicted, said he had heard Trump use racist language in the past. Asked about the allegations at the White House on Wednesday, Trump flatly denied it. "I would never do that and I don't use racist remarks," he said.

Trump has sought to insulate himself against criticism over race by inviting prominent black figures, such as influential Christian pastors, to the White House to talk about such issues as criminal justice reform. Several weeks ago, he met with Kanye West, who was a vocal Trump supporter, in the Oval Office, although West later sought to distance himself from the White House.

During the news conference Wednesday, Trump sought to turn the tables on his questioners after Yamiche Alcindor, a White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour who is black, asked if he had emboldened white nationalists on the campaign trail with his rhetoric.

"I don't know why you'd say that. That's such a racist question," Trump said, asserting that he has the highest job approval ratings of his presidency among African Americans. He appears to be basing that on a pair of dubious polls from conservative-leaning outlets, whose findings have conflicted with other polls. Trump twice more called Alcindor's question "racist."

On Friday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called Alcindor, Ryan and Phillip three of the best White House reporters and, in a tweet, said that "dismissing them or their questions as dumb, racist or stupid says more about @realDonaldTrump and his #dogwhistle racism than it does about these fine women."

Eddie Glaude Jr., chairman of the African American studies department at Princeton University, said Trump's language was not a dog whistle because "it is not subtle." He compared Trump's attacks on the intelligence of black public figures to "The Bell Curve," a widely disparaged 1994 book that connected intelligence to race.

“He does it over and over again,” Glaude said. “It’s important for us not just to reduce it to Trump just being transactional and understand this as a central part of who he is.”

Trump calls French president ‘good friend’ after testy tweet

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 07:19

President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron inside the Elysee Palace in Paris Saturday Nov. 10, 2018. Trump is joining other world leaders at centennial commemorations in Paris this weekend to mark the end of World War I. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Jacquelyn Martin/)

PARIS — President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron insisted they were good friends Saturday after a dustup over their comments about European security that threatened to divert attention from a weekend ceremony marking 100 years since the end of World War I.

The American and French leaders, who have had somewhat of an up-and-down relationship, worked to project unity on whether Europe should create an army as they addressed reporters before going behind closed doors for talks at the Elysee Palace.

Trump opened his latest French visit on a testy note after he unleashed an angry Twitter jab at his host as he arrived for the celebration. Just as Air Force One touched down in Paris Friday night, Trump tweeted that Macron "has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!"

Macron's office said Trump misunderstood Macron's comments about sharing the defense burden, and the two men struck a more friendly tone as they opened their meeting at the grand presidential residence on a rainy day in Paris.

"We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now, the burden-sharing has been largely on the United States," Trump said, adding that Macron "understands that and he understands the United States can only do so much, in fairness to the United States."

Trump added that the U.S. wants to "absolutely be there" to help defend Europe but that "different countries have to also help."

Macron defended his viewpoint, saying "I do share President Trump's views that we need a much better burden sharing with NATO and that's why I do believe that my proposal for a European defense" is "utterly consistent with that."

Macron said it's "unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States."

An official in Macron's office said Trump lumped together two different comments by the French president, and that the leaders would discuss the comments. By custom, the official was not authorized to be publicly named.

Macron said in an interview earlier this week that Europe needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace. Later, Macron reiterated that Europe needs to build up its own military because it can no longer depend on the U.S. for defense.

Trump has made similar arguments, particularly in urging NATO members to increase their defense spending.

It was the latest instance of Trump introducing tension before meeting with a world leader, then playing nice when they are in his face.

Earlier this year, Trump insulted British Prime Minister Theresa May at an especially vulnerable time for her government in an interview with a British tabloid. He also threatened not to work toward a trade deal with Britain and said May's political nemesis would make a great prime minister. The interview was published as Trump attended a grand welcome dinner hosted by May hours after he arrived in London.

But Trump was far more cordial to May's face. He complimented her leadership and expressed his great respect for her.

Trump's tweet aside, Macron welcomed Trump in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace with a handshake and pats on the arm. Standing in a cool drizzle, the leaders flashed thumbs-up signs to reporters but ignored their shouted questions about Macron's remarks.

Inside a gilded meeting room, Macron referred to Trump as "my good friend" and tapped him on the thigh. Trump said they had become "very good friends over the last couple of years" and were "similar in our views" on many issues.

Besides European security, the presidents also discussed the U.S. decision to pull out of an arms control treaty with Russia, Iran, the slaying of a Saudi journalist inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and Saudi Arabia's role in the war in Yemen, according to French officials who briefed journalists afterward. The White House offered no comment on what the leaders discussed.

The tweet by Trump marked a fresh sign that the "America first" president was ready to go his own way yet again as world leaders gather to remember the coalition that brought an end to the first global war in which millions were killed.

Trump was joining scores of other world leaders for a Sunday ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe to mark the WWI centennial.

The weekend visit comes on the heels of midterm elections in which Americans delivered a split referendum on his presidency, keeping the Senate in his Republican Party's control but giving control of the House to opposition Democrats.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who joined him at the palace later Saturday for a social lunch with Macron and his wife, Brigitte, had planned to visit the American cemetery in Belleau, France, to pay respects to U.S. soldiers who died on French soil. But the White House scrapped the visit because of rain. Trump is scheduled to visit a different American cemetery in France on Sunday.

Trump: ‘I don’t know’ Whitaker

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 07:10

FILE - In this April 11, 2014, file photo, Iowa Senate candidate Matt Whitaker speaks during the Iowa Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A GOP TV spot comparing castrating hogs to cutting spending, and Democrat Bruce Braley’s comment that lawyers like him are better suited to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee than “an Iowa farmer” like U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, have raised the Iowa’s open Senate seat on the GOP’s list of winnable races in the 2014 elections. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Charlie Neibergall/)

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker amid intensifying scrutiny of the controversial legal views and business entanglements of the president’s pick to run the Justice Department and assume control of the Russia investigation.

With the White House scrambling to manage public examination of Whitaker's background and resistance to his leadership within the Justice Department, Trump sought to douse speculation that he had installed the partisan loyalist to curtail the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump insisted that he had not spoken with Whitaker about the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller III - and the president upbraided a reporter when she asked whether he wanted Whitaker to rein in Mueller. "What a stupid question," he said.

Defiant and testy as he departed the White House on Friday morning for a weekend visit to Paris, Trump claimed four separate times that he did not personally know Whitaker, who had been serving as chief of staff at the Justice Department.

"I don't know Matt Whitaker," Trump told reporters, adding that he knew him only by reputation.

That claim is false, according to the president's past statements as well as the accounts of White House officials - one of whom laughed Friday at Trump's suggestion that he did not know Whitaker.

Trump and Whitaker have met in the Oval Office several times, and Whitaker briefed Trump when the president preferred not to talk to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he had disparaged publicly, according to White House officials. As Trump said last month on Fox News Channel, "I know Matt Whitaker."

In addition, Trump was aware that Whitaker was a skeptic of the Mueller probe before appointing him, which factored into his decision to tap him over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to two White House advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

Meanwhile, Whitaker's public record is drawing fresh scrutiny. That includes comments during his unsuccessful 2014 campaign in Iowa for U.S. Senate that judges should have a "biblical view," that he could not support judicial nominees who are "secular" and that he thinks federal courts are supposed to be the "inferior branch" of the government. Whitaker has criticized the Supreme Court's landmark 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison, which serves as the foundation for judicial review of public policy.

Federal investigators last year also looked into whether Whitaker, as an advisory-board member of a Miami patent company accused of fraud by customers, played a role in trying to help the company silence critics by threatening legal action.

But it is Whitaker's outspoken criticism of the Mueller investigation that has led Democrats to allege bias and spurred bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill to pass legislation designed to protect the special counsel and prohibit Trump from firing him.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Friday that she is "concerned" about Whitaker's comments about Mueller and the parameters of his investigation. She called for legislation that stipulates the special counsel could be fired only "for good cause and in writing" - and only by a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official, which Whitaker is not.

"Senate debate and passage of this bill would send a powerful message that Mr. Mueller must be able to complete his work unimpeded," Collins said in a statement.

Delivering the Democratic Party's weekly address, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said, "A functioning democracy requires Democrats and Republicans to come together to take action next week to protect special counsel Mueller's investigation."

"If we don't, and Donald Trump is given license to shut down an investigation into his own potential wrongdoing, then our nation starts to devolve into a banana republic," Murphy said in his speech, which was released Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted Whitaker would be "a very interim AG" and said his chamber would not consider legislation to protect Mueller, because "it isn't necessary."

"The Mueller investigation is not under threat," McConnell told reporters Friday in Frankfort, Ky. "The president has said repeatedly he's not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation."

The cascade of events was set in motion Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections, when Trump forced Sessions to resign after complaining bitterly for more than a year that Sessions had not sufficiently protected him from the Mueller investigation.

In replacing him, Trump passed over Rosenstein, who had been overseeing the Russia probe and who White House advisers say the president does not fully trust. Instead, Trump tapped Whitaker, who as a legal commentator opined extensively about the Russia probe.

Whitaker said on CNN that he could envision a scenario where Sessions was replaced and his successor "just reduces [Mueller's] budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt." He also wrote in an online column for CNN - under the headline "Mueller's investigation of Trump is going too far" - that the president was "absolutely correct" to suggest that Mueller would be crossing a red line by examining the finances of Trump and his family.

Meanwhile, an audio recording has circulated online in which Whitaker expresses doubt about any Russian inference in elections at all. "The left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the U.S. election, which has been proven false," Whitaker said. "They did not have any impact in the election."

That statement directly conflicts with the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Trump and the Justice Department's indictments of more than two dozen alleged Russian agents for interference.

Inside the Justice Department, there is considerable resistance to Whitaker, and some officials there say they think he is wholly unqualified to be acting attorney general.

Many in the building are concerned about infighting, noting that while Whitaker was serving as chief of staff to Sessions he spoke privately with Trump about taking over as attorney general and did not disclose the conversation to Sessions. A person familiar with the matter said Sessions was surprised when The Washington Post first reported on Whitaker and Trump's discussion.

Whitaker also had been seen as gunning for Rosenstein's job, which created awkwardness among the department leadership, officials said.

At the White House as well as the Justice Department, senior aides were taken aback by news accounts of Whitaker's work on the advisory board of Miami-based World Patent Marketing, which was accused of defrauding its customers. Officials said they were particularly stunned by emails showing Whitaker invoked his former job as a U.S. attorney to threaten a man who had complained about the company.

Whitaker also rebuffed an October 2017 subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission seeking his records related to the company, according to two people with knowledge of the case.

Also under scrutiny is Whitaker's work as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa. In one of its most publicized cases, Whitaker's office brought charges against an openly gay Democratic state senator, Matt McCoy, for allegedly using his office to extort about $2,000 from a local company that installed motion sensors in the homes of senior citizens to monitor their health.

McCoy said he believed the case was motivated because of his politics and sexual orientation, and a jury found him not guilty. A Justice Department spokesman said the case was brought on its merits, not because of politics. Still, for Whitaker, the case ended in defeat and harsh criticism in the local press.

The White House did not thoroughly vet Whitaker before Trump appointed him acting attorney general, because he was "already chief of staff," according to one White House official. This official said Whitaker is unlikely to be removed from his interim post "unless more comes out."

Inside Trump's orbit, one of Whitaker's advocates has been Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, who has vouched internally for Whitaker's management skills and told White House officials that he would be a more decisive leader than Sessions, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Leo did not know at the time he recommended Whitaker to be Sessions' chief of staff about his work for the suspect patent company but has stuck by the acting attorney general this week, the person said.

Seeking to quell the internal concerns and public doubts that have been raised about Whitaker, Rosenstein praised his new boss in brief remarks to reporters Friday in Alexandria, Virginia.

"I think he's a superb choice for attorney general," Rosenstein said. "He certainly understands the work, understands the priorities of the department. I think he's going to do a superb job as attorney general." He added that he delivered the same message Thursday in a conference call with prosecutors across the country.

Other officials inside the department said they viewed Whitaker as a capable and hard-charging manager who drew on his football experience to try to motivate people. Trump said Whitaker was "a very strong personality - and I think that's what they need."

Justice Department lawyers are bracing for the likelihood that they will face lawsuits over the constitutionality of Whitaker's appointment. A Justice Department official said lawyers feared that challengers would be able to find a judge, at least at the district-court level, who would be friendly to challenges over Whitaker's authority - whether they had merit or not - and stir further anxiety at the department.

Lawyers Neal Katyal and George Conway III, who have emerged as prominent critics of the Trump administration, argued in a New York Times column this week that Whitaker's appointment was unconstitutional because the appointments clause of the Constitution requires "principal officers" who report to the president be confirmed by the Senate. Some other legal scholars dispute that argument.

Seizing on some of their points, however, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote a letter to Trump on Friday calling Whitaker's appointment "unprecedented" and asking him to detail specifically why he had not let Rosenstein, who has been confirmed by the Senate, assume the role, as would have happened by default.

Speaking with reporters Friday, Trump distanced himself from Whitaker, just as he has done with other close associates - including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen - once they become embroiled in controversy.

"Well, Matt Whitaker - I don't know Matt Whitaker," Trump said. "Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions, and he was always extremely highly thought of, and he still is. But I didn't know Matt Whitaker."

Trump went on to praise Whitaker as "a very smart man," "very respected" and "at the top of the line" - and claimed his selection to succeed Sessions "was greeted with raves."

Administration officials and outside advisers said later Friday that they were struggling to divine the meaning of Trump's assertion he did not know Whitaker.

"Could he be running from him? I guess it's possible," said one person close to Trump and the Justice Department who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly. "I think he's just trying to kick the can and not deal with the situation."

White House officials said Whitaker is unlikely to be nominated as the permanent attorney general, a position that would require Senate confirmation. Trump hinted as much when he addressed reporters Friday.

"We'll see what happens," Trump said, adding that he is considering a number of candidates. "I have some very, very good people. But, I mean, there's no rush."

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett, Rosalind S. Helderman, Michael Kranish, Carol D. Leonnig and John Wagner contributed to this report.

A veteran’s remembrance from the first US war

Alaska News - Sat, 2018-11-10 06:56

The setting sun lights the American flag at the Anchorage Veteran’s Memorial on the Park Strip in Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday Aug. 27, 2017. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

With Veterans Day upon us, I would like to share with the ADN's readers this account from a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

In 1830, Congress passed a bill granting a pension to any veteran of that war, requiring only that he appear before a public official and swear an affidavit. William Norris was one of them. His words follow this letter.

William Norris was my many-times-great-grandfather. He was born in Virginia in 1760. He moved to Ohio in 1808, where he died in 1833. I don't know if he ever got his pension.

Barbara Henrichs

Affidavit of William Norris III as to war services

I, William Norris, of the county of Coshocton, in the state of Ohio, do hereby declare that I enlisted in the armies of the United States in the Revolutionary War, in the Virginia Line, at Winchester on the first day of October, A.D. 1780, under Captain Oldham. After receiving training at Winchester, we marched to Charlotte, where we joined Col. Campbell's regiment under Gen. Greene.

Now, we marched to attack (British Gen.) Cornwallis at Guilford Court House, where, after a severe engagement, we retreated; in a few days, however, we attacked him again, and drove him from that part of the country. We thence marched to Camden, where we had a general engagement with Lord Rawdon, in which the British gained the field. Then we marched to Fort Ninety-Six and besieged it for about three weeks. We attacked it, and after a day's hard fighting, we had to retreat because of the enemy getting a reinforcement coming on our rear.

A few days after this, we followed the enemy to Eutaw Springs, where we had another general engagement; and were victorious, taking upward of 400 prisoners. Here, I was severely wounded by getting one of my legs shivered to pieces, which disables me to this day. In the evening, when my stocking was cut off my wounded leg, three pieces of bone stuck to it. Also in this battle, my colonel and captain were wounded. The battle had begun about 8 o'clock a.m. on the 8th of September, 1781.

After I was wounded, I was taken off the ground and carried about 10 or 12 miles to a church, where I was laid under the green trees for the whole night. It was raining. The next morning, I was carried into the house, where I lay three days and three nights without anything to eat, and not even having my wounds dressed. I was thence carried to a general hospital at Charlotte. The morning after I was carried there, five doctors came in and wanted to cut my leg off, which I did not agree to, because I had seen too many have their legs cut off, and die afterward. I lay in the hospital at Charlotte until the middle of February, when I was taken to the general hospital at Camden. Every day, the doctors were pulling out pieces of bone from my wound, until it was the middle of March before they had got the last piece out. It was more than three years before the wound fully healed.

I remained at Camden until the third day of June, when I started for home in a wagon via Charlotte, where I got into another wagon which brought me within 100 miles of home; which distance I walked on my crutches, arriving home on the 26th of June. I got my discharge when I lay at the hospital at Charlotte, from Captain DeWitt, who took command of our company after our officers were killed.
William Morris
Dec. 7, 1830

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.