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Prosecutor, Former Corrections Official, Teacher/Mother – End Prohibition on Marijuana

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

Former Corrections Deputy Commissioner: Marijuana Prohibition is a Waste

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

Valdez Police Officer: Legalize marijuana so we can focus on serious crime

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

“Providing For Homosexuals” – A hijacked translation?

You might have heard that a Vatican Synod on the Family document that originally referred to “welcoming homosexual persons” was re-translated as “providing for homosexual persons”, along with other changes that downplayed the welcoming attitude of the first document. This is a link to the original Italian. If you’re like me, a non-Italian speaker, I encourage you to find an Italian dictionary like the one available to Alaskans through Oxford Premium Reference. This can help you make up your own mind about whether this document was translated well the second time.

I doubt it, just from looking at the header “Accogliere le persone omosessuali” in the Italian. The original translation rendered this as “Welcoming homosexual persons.” The re-translation rendered it as “Providing for homosexual persons.” I checked two Italian dictionaries plus Google Translate. All provided “Welcome(ing) as a preferred translation of Accogliere. One could get to “Providing for” by using the FIFTH option for Accogliere from italian.about.com which is “Accommodate” and then say “Accommodate” is like “Providing for” but that feels like a tortured translation to me.

I also looked at the Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary: Italian-English (4 ed.) and it offered receive; (con piacere) welcome; (contenere) hold, none of which seem amenable to being changed to “Providing for”

If someone wants to cite a more authoritative dictionary, I’m willing to listen. Until then I feel like the re-translation is an effort by conservative English speaking bishops to blunt the language of Rome.

Alaskans – Homework Help Till 2am

If you didn’t know about it, Alaskans from kindergarten through the first year of college have access to free* online tutoring on most any subject. The service is called Live Homework Help. This service is:

  • available through any computer (PC or Mac) or mobile device with an internet connection
  • compatible with a variety of browsers Check here for details
  • available as a service to Alaskan students in grades K-12 and intro-level college students
  • offered seven days a week from noon to 2am Alaska Time
  • Online tutors receive background checks and no personally identifying information is shared between tutors and students
  • Practice quizzes, the WriteTutor Review drop-off service and the SkillsCenter™ Resource Library that connects you to thousands of homework, test prep, and career resources is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The service is available to residents within the state of Alaska. Live Homework Help is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day.

Here are some of the comments that have been made by students using Live Homework Help as reported on a recent mailing list posting:

  • They know how to actually teach someone with dyslexia, which teachers here in my town lack so i love this site :) (11th)


  • Great to have the night shifters to help me out! I work nights so makes going to the math lab that much harder! so great someone is there to help me at 2am! Thanks again great job! (College intro)


  • This is an excellent service that I couldn’t begin to imagine my school life without. With a busy life who has time to try and find a tutor (especially for difficult subjects). This site finds tutors for you! AND THEY REALLY KNOW THEIR MATERIAL! (College intro)


  • This tutor has now taught me 3 different formulas to help me solve equations I didnt go over in class. Not sure how I would even do my homework without this service unless I sat at the math lab at UAA for hours. This allows me to still cook, hang out with the kids and work on my HW at my own pace thanks!!!! (College intro)


  • My tutor was very patient with me I havent gone to school in a while because of a brain injury. I had problems with the math my teachers have been giving me and my tutor has helped me with so much stuff. I have a feeling that we went way over the time that I was supposed to use. (9th)


  • I absolutely love tutor.com. Been using it for over a year now, and I love it from the very bottom of my heart. You guys are so amazing (though I have said this millions of times). You guys have saved my life. (10th)


  • I would spiral into depression without this service. (11th)


  • I never thought I would use an online service like this, but tutor.com definitely has this concept down! From the tutors to the interface, always extremely clear, helpful, and thorough. So grateful. Alaska State Library, if you read this, great use of resources! Thank you! (College intro)


  • Please keep this service going. I have used it since high school, and now I AM ABOUT TO GRADUATE COLLEGE. (College intro)

So, if you are an Alaskan student or know someone who is, have them give Live Homework Help at try.



*It’s free to you as an individual, but is purchased by the State Legislature on behalf of Alaskan students.

Alaska Voter Registration Deadline is October 5th

If you live in Alaska, want to vote in the November 4, 2014 election, but are not registered to vote, you need to get registered before OCTOBER 5, 2014. You can get registration information and forms from the Division of Elections voter registration page. You may mail, fax or e-mail your signed registration form to a regional election office. You can also try registering with your cell phone through a student developed site called vote-ak.us, which will also allow you request an absentee ballot.

Why would you want to vote this November? Aside from the state offices being voted on, the US Senate race may determine which party takes control of Congress. Also, there are three initiatives being voted on:

For more election information, including candidate statements and the full text of the initiatives being voted on, see the Official Election Pamphlet.

If you want to have a voice in any of this, you need to register to vote if you haven’t already. If you don’t live in Alaska, you can learn more about when to register and what’s at stake in your state by visiting usa.gov’s Register to Vote and Elections page.




Why I’ll be voting for legal weed in November

In November 2014, Alaskan voters will be asked whether to legalize marijuana use for people over 21. It is 2014 Ballot Measure 2 and I will be voting yes. I am telling you this despite my reluctance to comment on State of Alaska issues because I think this is a matter of justice.


I am voting yes because: Alcohol is more harmful than marijuana.

If alcohol is legal, so should marijuana. According to the CDC:

Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death. This dangerous behavior accounted for approximately 88,000 deaths per year from 2006–2010, and accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20–64 years.

88,000 deaths from over drinking. Per year. That’s nearly 30 9/11s each and every year. But we accept these deaths as the price of liberty. Or we don’t accept them but realize that Prohibition has been tried and failed in this country. By contrast, there are zero documented deaths from marijuana. It’s hard prove a negative, but:

If you can find a reliable (sourced from a peer-reviewed journal or government publication) that can attribute more than 88,000 deaths per year to marijuana products, leave a comment with full citation.

Aside from being deadly to people who drink, alcohol is associated with higher likelihood of domestic violence, while marijuana is not.

I have personal and painful experience to the power of alcohol to produce violence and misery. My father beat my mom and my siblings, usually while drunk. I do not recall being beaten, but I lived in perpetual fear of being next. I was drunkenly cussed out many times and Christmas time was usually more pleasant if he was out on a drunk.  I actually had nightmares involving my drunk father for several years after I moved away from home. So again, if we can allow something as poisonous to family life as alcohol in our society, I’d be grateful to legalize something that wasn’t quite as violence stimulating.

In addition to being less harmful than alcohol, it appears that legalizing marijuana, at least for medical use actually decreases deaths from painkiller overdoses by about 25%.

Marijuana use does have its risks. Check out any of the fact sheets I’ve linked to. I’m just saying they pale in comparison to the chaos and death rained down upon us all by alcohol. We manage to keep society mostly intact despite alcohol’s assault. Marijuana will be a cinch to handle in comparison.


I am voting yes because: Too many lives have been ruined by possession arrests and convictions.

Once you get caught up in the justice system, it’s easy to get into a downward spiral. You get a drug conviction and people find excuses not to hire you. You may no longer be eligible to go to college. You might go to prison for a simple possession offense and learn new ways of crime while behind bars.

According to the Alaska State Troopers 2012 Drug Report, over 3,000 marijuana related arrests were made between 2010 and 2012. For a drug with no known overdose deaths and which isn’t associated with domestic violence. I think that it is a tragedy that thousands of lives were fed into our justice system for this.

Nationally, marijuana arrests disproportionately fall on people of color. According to the ACLU, “Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.” In some states, Blacks are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. We need to ditch something that has so much racial bias in its application.


I am voting yes because: I lean libertarian.

As a matter of principle, I don’t think the State has any business regulating consensual conduct that does not harm others. Your freedom to swing your fist may end at my nose, but you’re free to go up to that limit. For example, marijuana should be included in DUI laws. I don’t care if you smoke a few joints in your home. But if you then hop in your car and start driving, that’s a risk to others that can and should be regulated.


Those are the reasons that I will vote to legalize marijuana in this state. I believe people of good will can come to a different conclusion. So if you’re a friend of mine who is a “no” voter, I’m ok with that, though I expect you to be willing to agree to disagree.



Summary of 2014 Ballot Measure 2 – http://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/bml/BM2-13PSUM-ballot-language.pdf

Official Election Pamphlet General Election 2014, Book I – http://www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/oep/2014/AK-Region-I-book.pdf – Ballot Measure 2 begins on page 63 of the booklet. While the State provided a cost estimate for regulating marijuana, it did not include any information from the Department of Corrections. A recently Fairbanks News-Miner article estimated it cost $50,000 a year to house a prisoner, so any costs from legalizing marijuana would be partially offset from the savings realized by not putting marijuana users and small dealers away.

CDC Alcohol Deaths – http://www.cdc.gov/features/alcohol-deaths/

DrugFacts: Marijuana – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

The Toxicity of Recreational Drugs – Alcohol is more lethal than many other commonly abused substances. By Robert Gable. New Scientist. May-June 2006, Volume 94, Number 3, Page: 206, DOI: 10.1511/2006.3.206 – http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-toxicity-of-recreational-drugs/1

Fewer Painkiller Deaths in States With Medical Marijuana: Study People with chronic pain may use pot instead of narcotics, researchers suggest
Monday, August 25, 2014, Health Day News

Cost of housing state’s prison population has senators seeking sentencing reform
Posted: Fairbanks Daily News Miner. Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:02 am | Updated: 5:42 am, Mon Oct 7, 2013.
By Matt Buxton/mbuxton@newsminer.com
URL: Not listed because too long. Click on title for story.

2012 Drug Report. Alaska State Troopers.  –  http://www.dps.alaska.gov/AST/ABI/docs/SDEUreports/2012%20Annual%20Drug%20Report.pdf

Marijuana Arrests by the Numbers. ACLUhttps://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/marijuana-arrests-numbers



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