Armstrong in Alaska

We’re in Alaska for the next two weeks broadcasting live radio and taping for television. Many of Alaska’s highly touted past and present elected officials are under a storm cloud of corruption and it remains to be seen where this will end. GOP Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski recently supported the sweeping ethics and accountability bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate. This is particularly sensitive to these lawmakers given that they have their own challenges with FBI and ethic probes in the state. In his continued defiance of President Bush, Congressman Don Young (R) voted against giving this administration expanded authority to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists without court warrants. 
Many of the villages and towns in Alaska are largely inaccessible, meaning people have to find alternative methods of transportation — which in large part is comprised of planes. There is a much higher percentage of pilots here than any other state in the union. In Alaska small private planes (that’s propeller airplanes, not jets) are treated almost like cars, so sometimes people don’t go through all the necessary precautions, which is one of the reasons for the high rate of aerial accidents. The other reason is the weather. Due to the sparse positioning of towns and cities, large patches of territory lack up-to-date weather patterns, so a pilot who isn’t aware of how to detect those patterns could easily fly from a clear sky straight into a thunderstorm in another part of the state.

One of the great things about Alaska, though, is one can almost make a living off of just living here, or so it might seem. The Permanent Fund paid every Alaskan around $1,500 last year. On top of that, if you are a Native Alaskan or married to one you might be receiving dividends from several companies created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which was set up to reimburse Native Alaskans for the use of their land, if you will. Alaska is definitely a unique state, and since no passport is required, it’s a great idea to come check this place out one summer. The birds fly north in the summer — join them sometime in Alaska.