Anchorage

The polls just closed in Alaska, but before they did, Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller managed to sneak in one last dig at Murkowski and the media. Over the past few days, he's been blasting media outlets for colluding against him: Accusing the Murkowski camp of successfully intimidating radio outlets into pulling Miller ads; lumping that incident in with the removal of a right-wing radio host who had urged Miller supporters to sign up as write-ins to make Murkowski’s name harder to find on candidate list; and accusing an Anchorage CBS affiliate of fabricating stories after receiving a

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Anchorage, Alaska—It’s the Saturday afternoon before Election Day, and El Tango, an Argentine restaurant in midtown Anchorage, is packed for a campaign event. About 50 people, mostly women, are bustling around and chatting about immigration reform, education, and, occasionally, how extreme the Tea Party movement is. One person sits in the back of the room reading about the foreclosure crisis. The attendees are from numerous ethnic groups; everything from Spanish to Somali is being spoken.

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Just how hard is it to clean up a big oil spill? Here's one pessimistic take: Charles Wohlforth, who covered the Exxon Valdez spill back in 1989 for the Anchorage Daily News, says the lesson from the Alaska disaster is that massive slicks can be nearly impossible to clean up, for the most part: More than 10,000 workers worked for a summer to wash glue-like oil from cold rocks. After spending more than $2 billion and inflicting untold additional environmental damage through their efforts, the cleanup recovered, at most, 5 to 7 percent of the oil.

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Barracuda

The resentments of Sarah Palin.

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Charles Wohlforth, a lifelong Alaska Democrat and occasional TNR contributor, gives us the word on Palin from up north.   I first met Sarah Palin just after she'd been elected mayor of the little town of Wasilla, Alaska, in October 1996. My first impression was that she didn't seem up to the job. I had written a Frommer's travel guidebook about Alaska (I live in Anchorage and was on the Municipal Assembly here at the time).

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In Alaska, it's known as Troopergate and, sometimes, Wootengate. Newly selected GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Alaska's first female governor, has been dogged by controversy since July 11, when she fired Public Safety Commissoner Walter Monegan. At the time, a spokesperson for Palin said the 44-year-old governor wanted to take the public safety department in a new direction. Monegan said any complaints from the governor about his job performance had "never been communicated" to him. Then things started to get messy.

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The Jerk

What made Ted Stevens such a famously bitter and vindictive man? Some people will tell you that the defining moment in the life of the powerful Alaska Republican senator, currently the target of a federal bribery investigation that threatens to end his storied career in disgrace, occurred at the end of an airport runway in 1978. In early December, Stevens was flying in a friend's small private plane from Juneau to Anchorage. The descending plane was just a few feet above the runway when it was caught by a sudden gust of wind that slammed it into the ground.

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Boom Town

Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?

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