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When the euphoria dissipates, Alaska will realize that the pot in which it has positioned itself is boiling over.

Reduce. Reuse. Reap a little cash on the side? One of the unpleasant indignities of living on an island in Southeast Alaska is that we are forced — in a very tangible way — to confront how much waste we create. That confrontation comes in the form of a bill. With space at premium, we pay to bale, ship and dispose of much of our trash inside Washington state.

Robert Eugene Chapman, 60, died Feb. 14, 2015, in Ketchikan.
Frances “Pat” Bailey Koons, 82, died Feb. 22, 2015, in Ketchikan.
For goodness sake

Like there’s not enough to get angry about in life?

Apparently not, for some folks.

When President Barack Obama called California’s attorney general the best looking, he was criticized — the remark was taken as diminishing her professional accomplishments.

Oh, for goodness sake.

On the same occasion, which was a political fundraiser, the president said of Kamala Harris, “You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake.”

How does adding that she is “best-looking” diminish any of that? How is it a bad thing to say something nice about somebody? The president could hardly say she was ugly as a mud fence —have you seen pictures of the woman?

And what the heck is up with apologizing for a compliment, anyway? The president, in his apology, did not retract his comment (good call), but oh so predictably said women shouldn’t be judged by their appearance (except — aren’t we all, men and women, and really, shouldn’t we appear clean and healthy if we can?) and women face “challenges” in the work force, and so on.


One of us who regularly writes in this space is a woman of a certain age who, on recent occasions, has been called a “good girl” by both men and women of a certain age, and even older. She knows the phrase is kindly meant. And usually, she is trying to get a job done and worried about things like world peace, telling local stories well, spelling and grammar, what’s for dinner, figuring out the weather forecast, how to pay the mortgage and other things that matter in the quality of our shared day-to-day life.

Why add “off-the-cuff compliment” to a list of things to be fixed?

There are so many things in the world that truly need fixing; let’s work on those, and leave trying to say nice things about others alone.