Monthly Archives: May 2005

Tort Reform Defies the Facts

The Alaska State legislature passed a bill to lower the cap on non-economic damages to $250,000 and to $400,000 in the most severe cases. The cap is now $400,000 for a person who sues for pain and suffering, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life. For severe damages, including wrongful death, the cap is currently $1 million. This new “tort reform” further blocks the ability of a jury of peers to award a victim of medical malpractice what they believe is reasonable. At the same time, this increasingly protects dangerous physicians who should not be practicing medicine in Alaska or elsewhere. The bill does absolutely nothing to enhance the quality of medical care, and simply increases protections of incompetent, negligent physicians. Read the rest of this entry

Two Items: Employment, and School Teachers

Alaska Employment Forecast 2005-6

Alaska Economic Trends is an extraordinarily informative monthly magazine published by the
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The Alaska Economic Trends website has every issue in full, going back to 1998. Articles focus on a wide range of issues relating to the Alaskan economy, such as the oil and gas industry, major Alaskan employers in both the public and private sectors (including nonprofits), rental housing, older Alaskans, the seafood industry, and much more. Take a look at the Trends Article Index which goes all the way back to the mid-1980s.

The current issue, Alaska Employment Forecast 2005-6, is now available both on the site (as a rather large, full color PDF file), and in hard copy at many Alaskan public libraries. The current issue discusses these key points and more: Read the rest of this entry

Gambling and Retirement: Not Unconnected

A few words about public policy issues that are or were being considered in the legislature…


The vision of a few old duffers sitting around a table playing a harmless game of poker while fattening the state’s coffers is pleasant indeed, but the realities behind this image are far less bucolic. Take a close look at the website of the National Council on Problem Gambling, an organization established to “increase public awareness of pathological gambling, ensure the widespread availability of treatment for problem gamblers and their families, and to encourage research and programs for prevention and education.” NCPG defines problem gambling as: Read the rest of this entry

The Peak Oil Problem

The other day I received an invitation to attend a presentation at the Alaska Housing finance Corporation office on the peak oil dilemma. I was only vaguely aware of the issue, or perhaps theory, that the easily (i.e. cheaply) available world oil supply had peaked, or was about to peak in perhaps ten to fifteen years. The two hour presentation by AHFC’s Scott Waterman (swaterma@ahfc.state.ak; 907-330-8195) was an extraordinary eye-opener. A few of the highpoints include: Read the rest of this entry