Vic Kohring Wins Free “Vacation”!

30 06 2008

Well, it’s another red letter day on the Corrupt Bastards Calendar. Vic Kohring is headed to The Grey Bar Hotel in Sunny California. After his last desperate attempt to keep from going to prison last week, I had expected today to arrive with lots of kicking and screaming for the former Wasilla representative. Not so.

In what can only be described as a bizarre display of….bizarreness, Mr. Kohring stood beside the Glenn Highway this morning eating cookies, and waving to passers-by under a huge sign with his name on it, and the giant orange spray painted addendum “THANKS ALASKA”. No word yet on whether he’s caused any accidents.

Saying that he isn’t afraid of prison, he added “It’s almost like going away on vacation. A Government sponsored vacation.”

Kohring begins his prison term the same way he got himself in trouble in the first place…begging for money. Stating that he couldn’t afford the flight to Taft, the private prison in California he’ll be calling home for the next three and a half years, marshals will escort Kohring to Taft after he surrenders here in Anchorage on Monday. So, you and I are footing even more of the bill for Vic’s “Government sponsored vacation”. Maybe that’s why the sign said ‘THANK YOU’ instead of ‘I’M SORRY’?

You can enjoy the whole story from Kyle Hopkins at the ADN website.

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Kristol Luvs Palin. Creepy.

29 06 2008

Here’s one that’s just beyond the pale.  On Fox News, William ‘the Bloody’ Kristol decries “the horrible sexism and misogyny” of Democratic primary voters, and tells us his new pick for McCain’s running mate is – Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  He gushes and swoons to the point of creepiness, talking about how Republicans are more ‘open to strong women’ and even suggests that Palin could ‘take on’ Barack Obama one-on-one on the basketball court.  Check out how Brit Hume keeps looking at him like he’s crazy.

When someone suggests that John McCain-Colin Powell might make for a winning ticket , Kristol chides him for ‘misogynist thinking’.  Huh?

Yes, this is the same Bill Kristol who mocked Hillary’s January tears. This is the same Bill Krisol who, in February, appearing again on Fox News said, “Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women. (snip) White women are a problem, you know. We all deal with that.” [laughter] When called on the carpet he sheepishly added, “I shouldn’t have said that.”   No, Bill…you shouldn’t have thought it.

Well, now Sarah Palin can add the coveted ‘nutball neocon warmonger’ demographic to her eclectic fan base.  Bill Kristol’s drooling, over-the-top endorsement should be enough to dampen Sarah-mania for supporters in the political center and left.





Exxon Laughing Their Way to the Bank – Again.

28 06 2008

It always bothered me that the unchecked burning of fossil fuels would some day have  a beneficial effect for oil companies beyond the obvious.  Let me explain.  Oil is burned -> atmosphere is warmed -> ice melts -> shipping lanes in the Arctic open -> ice-free shortcuts and easier transportation for oil companies. 

The thing that adds insult to injury about this whole arrangement is the fact that part of the reason we’ve been slow to act in terms of cutting fossil fuel use, bankrolling alternative energy, and joining the rest of the world in their concern about global warming‘climate change’ is that we keep hearing about how the science is ‘divided’.  Because, after all, there are many scientists who don’t think there’s a problem, and even if there is, it’s certainly nothing WE’ve done….right?  They throw out all kinds of statistics about how there are some places actually getting colder, and weather in the Middle Ages, and this is all part of a natural cycle, bla bla bla. 

“Close your eyes”, they whisper…”It’s OK.  It’s not your fault.  Just keep doing what you’re doing.  You deserve a Hummer.  There, there…don’t let those nasty environmentalists scare you.  Close your eyes…”

Well, of course, these ‘climate experts’ who tell us to ignore our senses and what’s going on in Alaska, and choose the more pleasant scenario…the one that relieves us from culpability, are not just idiots.  They are bankrolled, and they are bankrolled by…you guessed it –  Exxon Mobil.  

Well now we hear some startling new information.  The North Pole may be ice-free this year.  Not by 2030 or 2040 as studies last year indicated.  This year.  What does this mean for corporate oil giants like Exxon?  Ice-free shipping for their tankers over the pole sooner than they dreamed, newly exposed areas for potential drilling, and more corporate allies to help them prop up their little groups of scientists who have sold their souls and their planet for some cold hard cash.

Exxon Mobil is going to be laughing all the way to the bank.  Oh, that’s right…they already are from that whole Supreme Court ruling thing the other day…  Well, as soon as they RETURN from the bank, they’ll laugh themselves right back again.  I hope they don’t get sore from all this laughing and running to the bank.

And any bumps in the road like those pain-in-the-ass polar bears, and Alaska natives will be taken care of by the State of Alaska’s capitulation.  They’ve got Gov. Sarah Palin, the congressional delegation, and half the legislature tucked snug in their corporate pocket.  Will all this change when we flip some of those long held seats and fill them with new more progressive successors?  We can hope so, but we shouldn’t take it for granted.  Oil has permeated more than just the beaches of Prince William Sound in this state, and it’s going to take politicians who are willing to risk (gulp) losing for speaking the truth.  Any takers?

And one final note.  This week the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.  Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy just to know they care?





Ray Metcalfe Gave Me $2 Million Cash!

27 06 2008

 

‘Tis the season for political events, meet & greets, and luncheons with candidates.  It’s always interesting to check out the promotional stuff that circulates around. I thought I’d take an inventory of my political loot to date from events without a ‘suggested donation’, just to see how they stack up.

Diane Benson – Campaign button in my choice of blue on red, or red on blue.

Ethan Berkowitz – Button. One style fits all.

Mark Begich – Bumper sticker, two-sided sign (blue & white), 2 slices of pretty good pizza and a slice of cake.  Not bad…

Ray Metcalfe – 2 crisp $1,000,000 bills!

Each bill features Mr. Metcalfe’s face and “Which Earmark Did You Get?” on the front, with “In Ray We Can Trust” on the back, along with info on Veco, bribery, Ben and Ted Stevens and Ray’s part it investigating all of it. While Mr. Metcalfe won’t be getting my vote, he definitely wins the prize for creativity this primary season, and gets my appreciation for a good laugh. Let’s face it, there’s nothing funny about an Ethan Berkowitz button.





5 Minutes 32 Seconds.

25 06 2008

After sitting here wallowing in despair and frustration about FISA, and our ‘quaint and outdated’ fourth amendment, it was such a relief to hear Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold speak up today.  Dodd eloquently said what so many Americans are thinking, and what so few of their elected representatives are.  He spoke for two hours on the floor of the senate today. If you have 5 minutes and 32 seconds, settle in and listen to a patriot. 

Gee, I wonder how Stevens and Murkowski will vote?  I emailed them both.  Not because I think it will change anything, but watching Chris Dodd reminded me that sometimes it’s just about saying what needs to be said.  So, a virtual pat on the back and a big thank you to Senator Dodd from a few thousand miles away.





Screwed.

25 06 2008

Well, the extremely predictable ruling came down from the U.S. Supreme Court today. In a 5-3 vote the court decided to hack and slash the original $5 billion, which had already been hacked and slashed to $2.5 billion in punitive damages owed to Prince William Sound fishermen and Alaska Natives affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill to $507.5 million.

First, condolences to the 32,677 plaintiffs, their families, and all those affected by the spill who have been waiting and watching for almost 20 years, while lawyers get fat sucking on the marrow of the oil soaked bones littering the beaches of Prince William Sound. This was hard to take for ALL Alaskans, but for the plaintiffs, and all those who love the Sound, it was twisting the knife.

Second, to all those people who have bought into the idea that the oil companies have been good to Alaska by donating to charities, sponsoring sporting events, and plastering their logos on anything that doesn’t move (and some things that do), listen closely. They. Don’t. Care. Exxon has been fighting this since the moment the $5 billion was awarded to plaintiffs in 1994. Think that’s a lot of money? It’s not. Exxon’s recorded profits last year were $40.6 Billion. That’s PROFIT. Doesn’t make $507.5 million sound particularly punitive, does it? If the health, well-being and welfare of the Alaska people mattered to Exxon Mobil, these people would have been paid 13 years ago. So when you see the oil companies doing something that looks ‘nice’, remember it’s a cost of doing business to shut us up.

Third, any Alaskans who are outraged by this announcement today and are still planning to vote Republican in the upcoming presidential race – wake up. Who were the only supreme court justices voting with the Alaska people and against the interest of corporations? The progressives. Who were the ones that voted against the interest of Alaska? Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, & crew – those conservative judges that John McCain wants more of when he appoints the next 2 or 3 members of the court. Presidents are gone in four to eight years; Supreme Court justices last a lifetime. A court like this is what we get when so many Americans and Alaskans swallow the red Kool Aid, and don’t think about the political ramifications of their votes to their own interest when the chips are down. So, in November, think. Please.

By the time all is said and done a huge portion of the $507.5 million has evaporated with the shrinking value of the dollar since 1989, another huge portion went to the lawyers, 8000 of the plaintiffs are dead, and the Sound has still not recovered, and won’t in our lifetime. They got about 10% of the oil, they think. Sometimes in life, you get a cheap lesson…this wasn’t one of those times.

Don’t forget this when they tell you Pebble Mine won’t destroy the Bristol Bay fishery. Don’t forget this every time we negotiate with the oil companies about anything. Don’t forget this every time you see a warm fuzzy TV commercial, or see oil company logos every time you turn around. Don’t forget that anyone in our state to develop finite natural resources is here for the money. Period. And don’t forget this when you vote in November.





What’s in a Name?

24 06 2008

Can I remind everyone about the huge uproar that arose last year when a group petitioned to have Town Square Park renamed ‘Ruth Moulton Town Square’?  Ruth Moulton was an incredible citizen activist who organized petition drives, sued the city three times, created a grassroots movement, and eventually had Town Square written into the city charter to keep it from becoming a parking lot.  This took over a decade, and was done for free by a dedicated citizen of Anchorage, so WE could have a park downtown.  But people whined and complained, “Why do we have to NAME everything after people?  Why can’t it just be Town Square Park?”  The Assembly even rewrote the naming ordinance stating that naming things after their location should be preferable to naming them after a person.  And if you must name something after a person, let it be a feature of the whole, rather than the whole itself.  Hence, the new Ruth Moulton Plaza within Town Square Park.

Now, less than a year later, the city of Anchorage is graced with ConocoPhillips Stadium??  That’s what the new Assembly voted  to name the new soccer stadium going up in Kincaid Park. No whining, no endless meetings discussing the appropriateness of naming the whole facility vs. a feature of the facility, and on and on and on like with Town Square.   Not the  ConocoPhillips concession stand within Kincaid Stadium, no distinguished plaque thanking them for their contribution… they got the whole enchilada.  Apparently $500,000 is enough to buy you advertising for the rest of eternity with no controversy whatsoever.  The entire project will cost $10 million, but footing 1/20th of the bill will suffice to have the ConocoPhillips corporate logo branded on the thing in perpetuity so future generations can enjoy it.

Kudos to the two lonely souls who stood up in front of the Assembly and said “bad idea”.  And 1/2 a kudo to Mike Guttierez for suggesting that the naming be reviewed in 15 years, and subject to change if we don’t like it any more, or if we have another oil spill, or if their CEO is convicted of bribing our legislators…you know, stuff like that.  This type of forward thinking would have saved us from the “Ted Stevens International Airport”, don’tcha think?