Sad News for America.

20 05 2008

Sad sad news from Boston today. Senator Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Kennedy, a political icon and moral champion for the working-class seemed almost indestructible. I had the privilege of being his constituent for four years and share the shock and sadness of the nation. I still have a lump in my throat. Please join me in sending best wishes to Ted Kennedy and his family, friends, and coworkers. No doubt that Kennedy is a fighter. Let’s hope he wins this one.


Pebble Mine Goes Big Time. Finally.

19 05 2008


There’s a great post about Pebble Mine on Daily Kos.  At this writing the poll question, “Have you ever heard of Pebble Mine?” fell out as follows:

Yes 29% (including me)

No 71%

Hopefully posts like this will help change those numbers.  Great maps, graphics and links. Check it out and email it to friends out of state who make up that 71%.

Obama IS Coming to Alaska!

19 05 2008

Wow. If I knew my wishes would come true this easily, I’d have done it before! Obviously someone out there in Obama-land has been picking up on the vibes from the north! The Daily News has just reported that Obama will be in Alaska for ‘a brief campaign stop’ in the fall, if possible and a longer visit after the November election. While the Obama campaign still leaves a little wiggle-room about the pre-election visit, I hope they make it happen. For good reasons why, see my previous post. Alaska Democrats, and Democrats nationally need the Obama bump to clean house and send Stevens and Young out to pasture. Their priority needs to be before, not after November 4th.

2 Alaskan Superdelegates Declare for Obama!

19 05 2008

Barack Obama is two delegates closer to his inevitable nomination, having secured support from Alaskan superdelegates Blake Johnson and Cindy Spanyers! Obama now needs only 109 more delegates to reach the magical 2025 needed to nail the nomination. Johnson and Spanyers cited the following reasons supporting their declaration of support.

“Senator Obama is committed to Alaskans and establishing important ties to the state. He recognizes Alaska’s role in our future in energy and is sensitive to the challenges we face due to high-energy costs across the state, from Juneau to Fairbanks and across rural Alaska.

Alaskans responded overwhelmingly to his campaign in February, coming out in droves in sub-zero weather. His candidacy captured the imagination of thousands of new voters, including Republicans and non-partisans who responded to his message of change. Senator Obama will work to end the war in Iraq; provide affordable health care to all Americans; and strengthen our economy by creating good paying jobs.”

Not entirely surprising considering the stunning 75% of caucus-goers who turned out for Obama.  For those of you keeping score at home, Johnson and Spanyers are the 303rd and 304th superdelegate to declare for Obama.  Anticipate the flood of superdelegates to continue after tomorrow’s primaries in Kentucky and Oregon.

Matt Claman Against Recycling?!?

19 05 2008

What the….??? I did a big fat double-take when I heard that Matt Claman, new assembly chair was siding with the likes of Dan Coffey (ex chair), Chris Birch, Jennifer Johnston and Debbie Ossiander to delay voting on recycling in Anchorage schools. It just didn’t compute that Matt Claman, ex-chair of Alaska Center for the Environment, and someone who has been working for recycling for so long pulled a switcheroo. That’s SO last Assembly.

So, a bunch of bewildered and slightly ticked-off recyclers yesterday asked, “So what do you have to say for yourself?!” Here it is from the horse’s mouth.

“I will give my 100% support to a city-wide recycling program that is sustainable and economically viable. I am pleased that the Assembly approved the curbside recycling plan for Solid Waste Services by a unanimous vote on May 6, 2008.
Features of the city-wide recycling plan before the Assembly include school
district-wide recycling and additional drop-off sites in South Anchorage, East
Anchorage, and Eagle River. At our May 20 meeting, the Assembly will decide whether to address the city-wide recycling plan as early as June 10, 2008. Implementing a school district-wide recycling plan is a major policy change for the Anchorage School District. I believe Anchorage residents want the School Board to approve the plan before the Assembly makes its final decision on the same plan.
At the same May 6 meeting, I was surprised to learn that the Anchorage School Board
had not approved the school district recycling plan proposed by the Administration. Even though the Administration has been working on a recycling plan for two years, they have not coordinated their proposal with the School Board. Superintendent Carol Comeau has confirmed that she supports sustainable and economically viable recycling in all 100 school facilities. Superintendent Comeau is optimistic that the School Board will be able to consider a district-wide recycling plan at its meeting on June 9, 2008.
I encourage all recycling supporters to attend the School Board meeting on Monday, June 9. I am optimistic that the School Board will approve a recycling plan on June 9. I am hopeful that the Assembly will be ready to address that plan at our meeting on Tuesday, June 10.”

So there you have it. Sounds like Anchorage recycling advocates need to have a double-header the second week of June. I know you’re weary, but the end is in sight. Don’t let the Assembly off the hook on June 10th, (especially if you want new drop-off sites in East Anchorage, South Anchorage and Eagle River) but perhaps more importantly, show up at the School Board meeting on Monday, June 9th. If the School Board approves the plan and it dies in the Assembly, they’ll have some splainin’ to do.

Thank you, Hillary!

18 05 2008

Take a good look. This is why we should all be glad Hillary Clinton has stayed in the race. Granted there is a fine line between being ‘a fighter’ and being completely delusional, and there have been times that she has leaped over the line, laughing all the way.

But looking at this picture makes me think again. When was the last time 75,000 people showed up at a political rally for a candidate? I remember…it was NEVER! The inescapable fact is that we actually have an engaged citizenry. I’ll resist the urge to ask, “Where the hell were YOU in 2000 and 2004” and focus on the here and now, which is very very good. Had Hillary called it quits, this would never have been possible.

The picture is mindblowing, and it’s impossible to imagine what the view looked like from Barack Obama’s eyes. I believe he said it best. Even the most eloquent man on the planet was reduced to the opening words, “Wow. Wow. Wow.” Yup, that about sums it up for me.

So…think we could fill up the Park Strip if Obama came to Alaska?

Don Young’s Late Night Mystery Meeting?

16 05 2008

Tonight in Anchorage the Hispanic Affairs Council invited all candidates running for Alaska’s sole House seat to a forum.   Ahem!  Roll call, please!  Sean Parnell?…check.  Gabrielle LeDoux?….check.  Diane Benson?….check.  Ethan Berkowitz?…check.  Hmmm.  Someone’s missing.  Who might it be?  Ah, yes. Don Young….    Don?  Are you here Don?  (crickets)

Of course not.  After agreeing to attend the forum via teleconference from Washington D.C., the congressman suddenly canceled at the last minute, due to (get this) a ‘scheduling conflict’.  A scheduling conflict from 9-11 pm Eastern time?  What might this secret nighttime meeting be?  A conference with his pillow?  Poor time management? He obviously didn’t make time to attend the grow-a-spine seminar. 

It shouldn’t surprise us that he turned tail at the prospect of meeting face-to-virtual-face with those chomping at the bit to end his 18-term career.  He’s been dodging the media, the public, and any question-asking entity for months now.  Questions are just too darned uncomfortable.

Coming on the heels of the announcement yesterday that the special Legal Defense Fund he set up (after already spending more than $1.1 million on legal fees) had shown ‘no activity’ in its first reporting period, this has been a bad week for the Don. 

He’ll have to surface at some point if he hopes to make a serious run.  We’re waiting….

Attaboy Chris Matthews!

16 05 2008

Good morning! If you didn’t catch this last night, enjoy. But a word of warning, put down your coffee or you might end up blowing it out your nose! Chris Matthews calls right-wing idiot Kevin James on the carpet for not knowing what the hell he’s talking about. And Neville Chamberlain gets resurrected for 3 minutes of fame.

Stevens Beats Young by a Nose!

15 05 2008

The latest result for the coveted honor of “Least Popular Member of the Alaska Congressional Delegation” are in! Crowds were stunned when in a surprise slow motion finish, Ted Stevens beat Don Young by a nose in both the Unfavorable, and Very Unfavorable categories!

Very Unfavorable – Stevens wins 11% to 10%

Unfavorable – Stevens wins 28% to 27%

And the best news of all is that Mark Begich beats Ted Stevens by a whopping 5%, merely weeks after declaring his candidacy. And Ethan Berkowitz is ahead of Don Young by double digits if the match-up were held today.

Here are the vital stats available in full at:

Ohhhhhh, this is gonna be good.

Polar Bears Out of the Box and On the List.

15 05 2008

It’s quite astounding, really. Even the Bush administration appointees who are the rank & file in the War on Science had to admit this one. They raised the white flag, laid down their weapons and couldn’t bring themselves to deny it. I’m referring to yesterday’s resolution to list the polar bear as a ‘threatened species’ under the Endangered Species Act. I confess, cynic that I have become, that I didn’t expect this one.

Here’s the quote from Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne that really blew me away. “The right decision, as tough as it was, was to list the bear.” Yeah…(hand on Kempthorne’s shoulder)…doing the right thing can be tough. Especially when you’re not used to it. Now granted, he went on to basically say that yes, we’ve listed the species as threatened, but we’re not actually going to do anything about global warming. But he did say, flat out, there’s “no disputing the science”. Wow.

But Alaska’s congressional delegation – all three of them – despite the fact that the science is even overwhelming enough to convince the Department of the Interior, have decided that they know just a little bit more about science than…..the scientists. They know just a little bit more than the government agency that told the actual truth and made “the right decision, as tough as it was”.

Ted Stevens pulled his head out of the sand long enough to bestow these words of wisdom, “They’re gonna say this is global warming. It has nothing to do with global warming. This is a concept called climate change. It’s a concept of a process that’s been going on for years… This species is not endangered.” I’m so glad we’ve begun to explore the ‘concept of the process’ of climate change in Washington that will lead to the extinction of Ted Steven’s job.

Lisa Murkowski is afraid. Of what? “I am afraid that this decision opens a Pandora’s Box that the Administration will now be unable to close,” she said. Pandora’s Box? Isn’t that the box that contained all the evils of mankind? Anger, greed, slander, lies, vanity… I think this administration opened that box a long time ago, Lisa. But fortunately, as we all remember, the last little treasure we got from Pandora’s Box was hope. So maybe Dirk Kempthorne’s admission, ineffectual as it may turn out to be, is a reminder of that last ingredient.

Operation Chaos! (only good)

13 05 2008

As much as I enjoy hearing words like “embattled” when they precede the name Don Young, I’m finding myself a little conflicted. I want him to be embattled, but not too embattled. Here’s why. Recent Hays Research Group polls have Don Young (whose legal bills recently topped the $1 million dollar mark, despite the fact he hasn’t even been indicted yet) trailing his likely Democratic opponent Ethan Berkowitz. Now before you get too excited about this, those same polls have him in a statistical tie with his fellow Republican opponent in the primary, Sean Parnell.

A sticky situation… Yes, Sean Parnell would be a giant step above Don Young, Alaska’s most embarrassing politician, but after what seems like an eternity of Don Young politics, I  want MORE.  Parnell would be more difficult for Berkowitz to beat in the general election, but a Berkowitz vs. Young matchup would be a bloodbath.

So, what to do? First some background, in case you’ve been living in a remote cabin for the last few months. Some time ago, Rush Limbaugh declared “Operation Chaos” and his dittoheads dutifully showed up en masse to vote in the Democratic primary for Clinton, believing she will be easier to beat than Obama in a general election. Devious, and potentially effective in a close race.

So, backatcha.  The gloves are off. Here’s the 3-step plan, if you can stomach it.

On primary day:

  1. Take a big swig of Mylanta, Pepto Bismol, or whiskey. Your choice.
  2. Vote for Don Young.
  3. Take another big swig of Mylanta, Pepto Bismol, or whiskey. Your choice.

Then when he wins, giggle with delight, and vote for his Democratic opponent in November.

Now, there is a little snag here. You cannot vote in the Republican primary if you are a registered Democrat or Green. However, if you are a registered Republican, Independent, Non-partisan, Libertarian or Republican Moderate, then the game is on. Devious, and potentially effective in a close race.

So, let’s not settle for second-worst. We want it ALL! Tell your friends, and let “Operation Chaos” (or perhaps “Operation Kaos” for you Get Smart fans) begin!

I Want My Corrupt Bastard Fix!

12 05 2008

Remember when we had Comet Hyakutake that one winter? Then the next winter we had Comet Hale-Bopp? We loved our comets up here in dark sky country. We got used to them. They became a fixture in our winter sky. Then came the winter of 1997….no comet. I was miffed. I had gotten used to this celestial event, and even after only two consecutive comets, I began to expect it.

That’s how I feel about the Corrupt Bastards Club. They were dropping like clockwork for a while. Bill Allen, Rick Smith, Tom Anderson, Pete Kott, Vic Kohring. We got used to it. It was our indictment-du-jour! Sure we all would have preferred an honest government to start with, but gosh…watching this house of cards tumble has been downright entertaining. And then, a twist – Jim Clark! Hmm….a little surprising. We weren’t quite expecting that one. It’s no Comet Hale-Bopp, but we’ll take what we can get.

So when is the next indictment coming…and who will it be? Who will the FBI ‘vote off’ the political island and into the pokey? The Nenana Ice Classic is over, so who’s ready to bet? We need a Corrupt Bastards Classic. My money’s on Ben Stevens. I’m probably being conservative (how ironic!) and voting on the favorite, but maybe I’ll be surprised.

And, yes, I feel sorry for their families. I don’t have a heart of stone. But there’s something about watching karma play itself out, especially in this dark era of political corruption, that just feels good. Things are unfolding as they should. All is well with the universe. It’s like a salve for my aching progressive brain.

So come on FBI…don’t make me beg! It’s a long time til Hale-Bopp comes back.