Bedtime in Alaska – Open Thread

5 10 2008

Night Mudflatters.

Snoskred and Sephy have been spiffing up our chat room in preparation for the Second Presidential Debate!  It is scheduled for this Tuesday, October 7th.  The Mudflats Live Chat will be held HERE

You can stop by now and set up an email reminder for yourself.  There’s an awesome picture of Brian hanging out by Mt. McKinley.

The live chat starts at 4:45pm Alaska time. To see what time the chat is in a time zone near you, click HERE.


Obama-rama in Juneau, Alaska!

5 10 2008

Here it is….from the capitol city of Alaska! Several hundred Juneau-ites came together and rallied for Obama-Biden! For a city of 30,000 people, that’s saying something! Here’s the recap with photos from Mudflatter Sandy Beach!


Juneau had a great party today. It was held at our Juneau Arts & Cultural Center, the former Armory. Participants were instructed to make a sign that reads “I am an Alaskan __________, and I choose Obama/Biden.” You were to fill in the blank with a word to describe yourself. As you can tell from the pictures, most people did just that. There were Alaskan mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, animal lovers, hockey players, fishermen, moose hunters, nurses, dietitians, pastors, Christians, Lesbians, state employees, rednecks, developers, entrepreneurs, poets, musicians, and even a few Republicans. There was music, an emcee, and a visit from Juneau Representative Beth Kertulla. In fact, someone who looked a lot like Sarah Palin showed up and gave a speech, although she looked a bit unsteady on her high heels. Note: See the the woman with a child in her arms that faux Sarah is posing with? That’s the real Sarah—Sarah Conarro, that is, whose brainchild this whole event was.

The people you see working intently at small tables are doing one of two things: making a sign or writing postcards. The local Obama campaign people provided stacks of lovely Alaska postcards pre-addressed to undecided voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Obama-Rama attendees wrote personal notes to them, suggesting how they might want to vote on Nov 4.

At one point, the crowd took their signs outdoors to greet the traffic on Egan Drive. Kudos to Sarah Conarro for throwing a great party!

New FAQ Page

5 10 2008

There’s a new FAQ page up, talking about spam, trolls, and anonymity. Did I forget anything?

State Employees Will Now Testify in Troopergate Probe.

5 10 2008

The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot, and turn up the heat slowly enough, the frog will not realize it’s being cooked until it’s too late.  But if you turn up the heat suddenly, it will spring to its senses and leap out of the pot, thus saving its life.  I give you, Alaska State Attorney General Talis Colberg.

Talis Colberg, the erstwhile Mat-Su Valley lawyer specializing in worker’s compensation claims, found himself hitched to Sarah Palin’s rising star.  When she was tapped to be McCain’s running mate, his reaction was “Wow. I work for her.”  >>>>HOCKEY BUZZER<<<<<  Actually, the Attorney General is supposed to be working for the people of Alaska.  To help our Governor and our AG remember this, a grass roots group spontaneously emerged, calling themselves Alaskans for Truth.

This group, organized a rally in part to demand the resignation of Talis Colberg for telling state employees that they didn’t need to comply with legislative subpoenas issued as part of the ethics investigation that has become known as “Troopergate.”  This smacked a little too much of Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Meiers for many Alaskans, and 2000 signatures were toted down to the Governor’s Anchorage office and presented to Palin spokesman Bill McAllister, (when Lt. Governor Sean Parnell chose to remain in the comfort and safety of his office).

The rally and the petition drop-off were covered quite well by our local news media, and thanks to this and the efforts of several determined and ticked-off bloggers, it got some national play as well.  Multiple complaints have been filed against Colberg to the Alaska Bar, and despite a lawsuit claiming the subpoenas are illegitimate, a judge’s ruling this week said, basically, “I don’t think so.”  An emergency appeal was filed with the Alaska Supreme Court which will be heard this coming Wednesday.

So there’s the set up for you.  Talis Colberg = frog.  Pot of water = Blissfully lounging in Palinworld and feeling all invincible.  Flame turned suddenly up to the highest setting = Alaskans for Truth + media + the law.

It seems as though the old adage has worked, because Colberg has suddenly launched himself out of the pot, and landed squarely on his soggy rump.  Seems like those seven state employees who were told by Colberg that showing up was optional, have had a change of heart.

All seven employees have decided, in light of Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski’s decision, to cooperate with the legislative investigation, according to a statement today from Colberg’s office.

“Despite my initial concerns about the subpoenas, we respect the court’s decision to defer to the Legislature,” Colberg said. “We are working with Senator Hollis French to arrange for the testimony of the seven state employee plaintiffs.”

How about that… Can a frog tuck its tail between its legs?

Meanwhile, Alaska First Dude Todd Palin is now back in Alaska.  He has agreed to testify to the other investigation into Troopergate by the State Personnel board.  Palin initiated this investigation of herself, claiming that the legitimate investigation which came about through unanimous, bipartisan approval had become “political” once she joined the McCain ticket.  Will the Supreme Court ruling have any affect on whether Todd has a change of heart and testifies to the Legislative Council?  And how much will this delay the report? Further developments are anyone’s guess.

And the Moose Nugget Award Goes to…..

5 10 2008

I attended both Presidential candidates’ rallies in Anchorage yesterday.

Obama-Biden rally – Approximately 1200 rally-goers, lots of homemade signs, voter registration, postcard writing, live band, t-shirt/button sales with long lines, lots of families and dogs (some with signs), outside on the Park Strip.  Noticeable racial diversity in the crowd.

Focus of rally:  Hope, change, moving forward, getting out the vote, labor, women’s issues, health care, the economy, veterans, Alaska natives.

McCain-Palin rally – Approximately 250ish rally-goers, hundreds of empty chairs, pre-printed campaign signs, t-shirt/button sales, high school band, very few kids, no dogs, inside in a cavernous convention hall.

Focus of rally:  Terrorism, military, fear of those who “hate us”, Obama rally is angry and filled with hate, think of all that Alaska will get if Sarah is elected, oil, get out the vote, war.  Noticeable lack of racial diversity in the crowd.

The front of the room at the Palin rally.  Slideshow at right.

Yes, I am an Obama supporter.  Yes, I had a rollicking good time at the Obama rally.  Yes, I found the McCain-Palin rally empty (on many levels) and depressing.  But trying really really hard to be “objective”, that was my take of what I observed.

Here’s my beef.  The Anchorage Daily News covered the McCain-Palin rally, as you would expect they would.  But, they did not cover the Obama rally.  The article on the cover of today’s Anchorage Daily News entitled Pro-Palin Rally Gets Surprise Guests had 535 words.  489 of them were about the McCain-Palin rally, the surprise pop-in from Todd and Piper Palin, and included quotes and observations from the rally-goers.  44 of those words were about the Obama-Biden rally….the rally with four times as many attendees; the rally that flew in the face of Sarah-mania on her home turf; the rally that showed the rest of the country that there is significant support for a Democratic candidate in the state of Alaska.  There were no quotes or interviews.  Here are the 44 words:

The Saturday [Palin] rally had plenty of competition downtown as Alaska supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally and voter registration drive on the chilly Delaney Park Strip nearby.  Hundreds of Obama fans crowded sidewalks and waved signs as cars streamed by.

Two sentences.

The Obama-Biden rally was the largest rally for a presidential candidate in Alaskan history.  There were similar rallies held all across Alaska, with hundreds in attendence  in Fairbanks, on the Kenai Penninsula, and even in Juneau!  In a state where it can be politically risky to “out” yourself as a progressive-sympathizer, a Palin opponent, or…(gulp)…an Obama “operative” as the McCain campaign is fond of calling anyone with a sign, this was incredible.  It was, I would argue, the biggest political news of the day.

Alaskans know Sarah Palin, and they just voted with their feet, and their Saturday afternoon.  Where did they go?  4 to 1 they went to the Obama rally.  Now, don’t get me wrong, McCain and Palin may still win this state.  She’s got the “home team right or wrong” vote, she’s got the “Alaska will get more stuff” vote, she’s got the “underinformed voter” vote, and she’s got the extreme Evangelical vote.  But she does not have the enthusiastic, engaged, willing to turn out, get off the couch, and do something vote.  And those are usually the people that actually make a difference.  So kudos to the Alaska Obama campaign for pulling it off, and doing it with positive energy, hard work, and style.  So, in my world, here’s the headline in the Anchorage Daily News that you deserve.

Obama Rally Dwarfs Palin Rally in Anchorage. Surprising Lack of Support for Governor.

In closing,  my newly invented “Moose Nugget” award goes to the Anchorage Daily News.  Not because they didn’t do their job, but because they only did half of it.