Bedtime in Alaska – Flickr is Up!

29 11 2008

I am happy to announce that the Flickr photo function is now up and running. You’ll see the link to photos in the sidebar towards the bottom. This will make life much easier when posting groups of photos in the future. But to start the experiment, I used some shots I took on Thanksgiving. You may or may not recognize the mudflats you’ve been looking at in the header photo at the top of the page. They are distinctly more frozen than they were last year at this time when I took the photo in the header.

As you can see, I felt like I spent Thanksgiving in a postcard!

The Night Kitchen Open Thread is waiting in the forum!

Night all!

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Joe the Plumber Won’t Go Away Either.

29 11 2008

The two people that most of America was hoping would become footnotes in history, or questions in Trivial Pursuit after Election Day, continue to prove that they will not go gently into that good night.

First we had Sarah Palin on the “Victory Tour” with Larry King, and Matt Lauer, and the Governor’s Conference in Florida, and the turkey slaying, and the “Thank you Sarah Palin” TV commerical, and her newly planned trip to stump for racist fear-monger, Saxby Chambliss…

And now….he’s baaa-aaack!  I speak of Joe the Plumber.  I picture him and Sarah Palin as a set of bookends that John McCain used to try to prop up his flagging campaign, and they were the cheap kind of bookends that aren’t very heavy and don’t have that little thing that you slip under the books to hold them up.  In other words, they were for show, and they didn’t work for squat.

Nevertheless, they continue to sit there on the shelf and annoy us, and we have to keep looking at them.

The commentary from Cenk Uygur makes this one bearable. I wonder if Joe will show up in Georgia on Monday? It actually wouldn’t surprise me.

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The Governor of Alaska and the Queen of Georgia.

29 11 2008

chess

Tomorrow, Sarah Palin, like all of us, will make certain decisions about what to do with her time. She, like all of us, will decide where to put her energy and focus and attention. She has a newfound power and ability to influence decision-making on a populist level. And she has made decisions about how she wants to do that.

Tomorrow, Sarah Palin will fly to Georgia to use her influence on behalf of Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. She will appear at four campaign rallies speaking to thousands of voters on his behalf. The run-off election between Chambliss and his Democratic challenger Jim Martin has become an epic struggle, the outcome of which may decide whether Democrats walk away from this election with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

The holy grail of 60 seats has not only elevated the Senate race in Georgia to Olympic proportions, it has focused the magnifying glass on the laborious and exacting recount in Minnesota, and has kept Republicratic-independent Senator Joe Lieberman in his plum committee chairmanship for fear of making him mad and losing him to the dark side entirely. It is politics. It is a chess game. It is, as our current President would call it, “strategery.”

But, as political candidates, and strategists, and voters often do, we get deep into that dark forest of strategy and we no longer look at the trees. To many, Chambliss is a political pawn in this Senatorial chess game, who has suddenly made it to the other side of the board, and now has all the significance and power of a Queen. To others, including Max Cleland, the man who ran against him last time, he is more than that.

Matt Zencey was kind enough to do my homework for me today. In the Alaska Notebook, he reminds us:

Chambliss was elected to the Senate in 2002 by running one of the most reprehensible campaigns of modern times. He was up against incumbent Democrat Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam War veteran who lost both legs and his right arm to a grenade during that conflict.

Chambliss avoided serving in Vietnam. He got four student draft deferments, and when his number finally came up, he was medically disqualified with knee troubles.

In the best Karl Rove fashion, Chambliss the draft-evader attacked Cleland the war hero for being soft on terrorism. Distorting Cleland’s votes about workplace rules for the new Homeland Security Department employees, Chambliss portrayed him as a tool of terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

Here’s how the Almanac of American Politics (2006) described it:
“Chambliss ran an ad, much attacked in the press, showing pictures of Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Max Cleland, and saying that Cleland ‘voted against the President’s vital homeland security efforts 11 times.’” (Those “vital homeland security efforts” Cleland opposed were intended to strip homeland security employees of union rights and other workplace protections.)

The man who couldn’t bring himself to serve in the military said a man who left three limbs behind in war was a weakling who would turn the country over to terrorists.

I have no doubt that our Governor is proud of her son Track, who recently enlisted in the army. She wears her blue star pin, and I’m sure there’s not a day that goes by that she doesn’t wonder about his welfare, and worry about his safety as all mothers would worry about the welfare of the child that first made them a parent. She thinks about the military differently than she used to, because she now has very precious “skin in the game.” So, I wonder. I wonder how it is that she, and so many others including John McCain who have a personal narrative that is touched by war and conflict, can stand next to Saxby Chambliss and see him as nothing but the shiny new Queen in the chess game.

And while America prepares to witness the most historic Presidential inauguration of our lifetime, and children of every color look at their TV screen at our new first family and think, “Yes, I can” maybe for the first time, we hear again from Senator Chambliss. Here’s what he said about the neck-and-neck race that brought about this run-off election.

“There was a high percentage of minority vote,” Chambliss told Alan Colmes on Fox a couple weeks ago, “but we weren’t able to get enough of our folks out on election day.”

“WE weren’t able to get enough of OUR folks out on election day.” Who is “we”? Who are “our folks”?

During the fall Senate campaign, Chambliss cautioned his followers that “the other folks” are voting. The senator added that the “rush to the polls by African-Americans” has “got our side energized early, they see what is happening.”

In Chambliss’ world it is “our side” vs. the African-Americans. Our folks vs. the minority vote. I am tired of Chambliss’ world. I am tired of racially divisive politics and the words that keep it alive. It was Gandhi who said, “Words become our deeds.” This country has had enough of those words, and those deeds. And this country has had enough of those who support them. This is not a chess game.

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Bedtime in Alaska – Brian’s Knock Knock Joke.

29 11 2008

I’ve been missing Brian, my local moose, lately.  I saw a lot of him in the fall, but I haven’t seen him for several weeks.  It’s dark early now, and I keep thinking to myself that he could be right outside my door and I’d never know.  But tonight, I knew.

I went out of town for Thanksgiving, and before I left, I meant to take out the little bowl of fruit and vegetable scraps that was ready to toss on my compost pile, but I forgot.  So when I got home, I noticed the contents of the bowl had gotten a little “ripe” in my absence, so I took the bowl and set it outside the back door in the snow, planning on dumping it after I unpacked.  And once again, I forgot.

So, tonight, I was sitting here happily typing away, and the dog raised her head from sleep and let out one of those little, short truncated barks.  More like a “buf!”  But that was it.  I didn’t think much of it.  Then a minute later I hear someone knocking on the sliding glass door.  It’s highly unusual for anyone to knock on that door, especially past midnight, and the door is right next to my computer, so it startled me, and I swung my head around.  There, standing, framed perfectly in the glass of the sliding door was enormous Brian, no more than 5 feet from where I sit!  I almost jumped out of my skin.  I don’t know who I expected to be knocking on my door in the dead of night, but it surely wasn’t a 1500 pound bull moose! Then, I remembered the compost!  Sure enough he was trying to get the frozen plant scraps out of the bottom of the plastic bowl that was just about the perfect size to fit over his nose.  As he licked the frozen veg-sicle that was stuck to the bottom, his head was moving back and forth, causing his antlers to bonk bonk bonk on the glass.

I raced for the camera, of course, and managed to get some pictures.  The flash didn’t seem to bother him too much.  Then I sat on the floor to the side of the door and watched the compost antics.  He became less and less successful in extracting his snack the deeper into the bowl he got.  Finally in frustration he started to stomp on the bowl, which helped, as frozen chunks of carrot and apple core popped out into the snow.  Then he’d nibble them up with his lips and stomp again.  He’d stop periodically and just stare at me trying to decide whether I was something to worry about.  I’m sure he wondered what all the flashing lights were about, but he seemed willing to put up with it in order to enjoy the wonderful frozen treat he’d managed to find.

He stayed a good long while; long after the dog’s hackles had gone down.  He stood like a sentinal, watching me intently with great brown eyes even as I began to type this nighttime thread.  It looks like he’s gone now.  But I have a feeling he will be back, hoping to find another meal at his secret eatery.  I won’t make that mistake again, or I’m likely to have antlers crashing through my door at all hours of the night!

The Open Thread is waiting, as always, in the Night Kitchen!

Knock, knock.

Knock, knock.