Saturday Moment of Zen…

13 12 2008

lotus2tn

Hello all,

Welcome to another moment of Zen….
(That’s our happy way of saying we’re having server/wordpress problems) As the new WordPress gets updated, we’ve been experiencing intermittent issues that result in you not being able to access the blog, and sometimes the forums too…

WordPress often “gives us the opportunity to practice patience and tolerance” and they also do provide us with this lovely snowfall back on the old blog, and also a place to leave comments while we wait.

Hopefully we’ll be back up and running soon.

Thanks for your patience!

~The Mudflats Team

Saturday, December 13 4:20pm Alaska Time

Update: 6:00pm Alaska Time – ServerGuy is on the scene. Server is busy processing gobs of requests from people to get to the site, that the reboot request has to wait in line. Like taking a number at the deli….

Update: 8:15pm Alaska Time – The Deli has closed and sent us away…  So now we are in the queue at the Network Operations Center in Dallas to have our plug pulled, and replugged.   I’ll keep you posted!

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Road Trip!

6 12 2008

moving-to-the-mudflats

OK, buckle your seatbelts!  We’re heading off to http://www.themudflats.net!

Don’t worry.  This blog will still be here with all the old posts and comments for your reference.  Comments will be turned off here, however, so as not to confuse anyone.

Our new hosted site will have some new features I’m sure you will all enjoy!

So, put on your boots, grab those rakes and shovels, and come on over!

Just click the truck!

(Keep this site bookmarked for archives, and as a backup location if there are ever any technical glitches on the new site!)





If at First You Don’t Succeed…

6 12 2008

This reminds me of that old piece of advice, “Ask for everything. The worst they can say is ‘No.'”

Ted Stevens’ lawyers have asked Judge Emmett Sullivan to overturn the jury’s verdict. That’s right, just toss the verdict out and rule for an acquittal.

And if he won’t do that, then they’ll settle for a new trial. In Alaska.

And if he won’t do that, then they’ll settle for a new trial.

AND they want 6 of the 7 felony counts dismissed because they are the same as the first felony count.

They also asked the judge to allow them to file some exhibits in support of their motions under seal because the exhibits refer to personal information about jurors and to the ongoing investigation by the government into political corruption in Alaska.

This might have something to do with Juror #9 who had “violent outbursts” during the deliberations, and whom all the other jurors wanted off the island. Or, it could have to do with Juror #4 who lied about her own father’s death, and skipped town to watch a horse race. Or, it could have to do with our favorite Juror #11 who has been talking to the press and keeping a blog that describes some interesting goings-on behind the scenes. And now, it appears that the defense has been doing some investigative work that reveals what they believe to be jurors who lied on their forms and failed to disclose relationships with the criminal justice system that could have made them prejudicial against Stevens, and politicians in general.

AND they say that Bill Allen, former CEO of Veco Corp, and key witness for the prosecution lied when he said that the friend of Stevens who was overseeing the renovation said, “Don’t worry about getting a bill. Ted’s just covering his ass.”

Under an earlier schedule set by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, the government has until Jan. 9 to respond to the defense’s post-trial motions. A hearing is set for Feb. 25.

In asking for a new trial, the defense lawyers said Stevens’ trial was fatally flawed with false evidence presented by the government, improper hearsay evidence from a witness who was the “linchpin” of the government’s case, and by jurors who lied to the court and were prejudiced from the start against politicians.

Such post-trial motions are common in criminal trials but rarely succeed before the trial judge, who has ruled upon most if not all of the arguments before. However, they set out the basis for a likely appeal, and could also be used by advocates seeking a presidential pardon for Stevens to assert he was tried unfairly.

Like it or not, the Stevens trial continues. Trialophiles will want to read the entire article in todays Anchorage Daily News.





Bedtime Thread – One Word Only.

6 12 2008

Bedtime in Alaska.  There has been lots of duck-paddling going on under the surface of the water here at Mudflats!   WordPress has just done a major upgrade, and I’ve been enjoying the much improved design, back here in my work area behind the scenes.

We’ve  been waiting for this upgrade, to move the blog to a new site!  I promise this will be almost completely painless.  All it will involve is clicking once, which will take you to the new site.  And the new site will look pretty much exactly like this site, only you’ll have some cool new features like the ability to edit your own posts!  Nice.

I’m hoping the jump will happen in the next day or two. 

In the meantime, the Night Kitchen is always open for stream of consciousness chatter, and also check out the One Word Meme thread on the Forum.  Find out how Mudflatters answer a series of questions with just one word!

Fascinating.

Compelling.

Challenging.

Fun!





Oregon Mudstock!

5 12 2008
Thanks to Mudflatter pdx mb in Oregon for reporting back about the Oregon Mudstock!  Sounds like they had a lovely afternoon, and how cute is that Littlest Mudflatter??  Looking forward to reports and photos from Southern California, Anchorage and the Inauguration in D.C. coming soon!
****************************************************************************************
 
 
oregon-mudstock-iv
 
Our Oregon Mudstock was an intimate, but enjoyable affair. We met in Tualatin Oregon (northern Willamette Valley, but south of Portland) on Sunday following Thanksgiving. Perhaps the timing made it difficult for others to make it. We know you were all with us in spirit. Probably the unbelievable gorgeous weather didn’t help. Don’t tell anyone, because we want to keep it a secret here, but Oregon has some of the best autumn weather you can find. In between those infamous gray rainy days, we have days with crisp blue skies, brisk-but-not-frozen temps and even some fall color that may rival New England this year. Okay, I’ve never been to New England, but the trees have been stunning this year! Anyway, our Oregon Mudstock fell on one of these days…
 
Attendees included pdx mb (occasional poster), Jeanine and Susan (don’t have your mudflats names, but both say they are mostly lurkers), and the star and youngest member of our group, Pearl (no mudflats name and too young to post, alas…). Susan brought us a gift of her Obama postcards that she had printed and used for various campaign activities. Pearl had a darling Obama silkscreened tee shirt, and Susan was also wearing a beautiful necklace of an Obama logo carved in wood. At that point we were all still hopeful that Jim Martin might still pull off a victory in Georgia, hopeful about Merkley’s future performance in the Senate, and encouraged by PE Obama’s very presidential actions. Can we have the inauguration already?
 
We also delighted in the knowledge that our Oregon group also includes one Anne Kilkenny (no relation) and another member with ties to Wasilla (her aunt and uncle owned a store for many years before the strip mall invasion). We’re sorry they couldn’t make it. There’s chatter about an inaugural mudfest…
Dutifully reporting,
pdx mb




Palin Stomps Out of Room and Slams Door. Won’t Empty Pockets.

5 12 2008

Indulge me in a little impromptu Mudflats Theatre.

Characters:

Mom & Dad – Well-meaning, but indulgent. Unsure of how this whole family dynamic works. They appear weary and run down.

Child – Cute as a button. Feisty, bold and confident.

Friend – (if actors are hard to come by, this part can be played by a bobble-head doll, and his one line can be cut)

(Curtain rises. We see an average American kitchen. Mom and Dad are standing in front of a child whose arms are folded indignantly. A large jar lies on its side, with the lid removed. Half a cookie sits on the counter.)

M&D – Child, we’ve got a problem here. Someone’s been stealing cookies from the cookie jar. We’ve done some checking, and due to the crumb trail leading to your room, the fact that nobody else was around, and the chocolate in the corners of your mouth, we’ve come to the studied conclusion that it was you. You know you weren’t supposed to be doing this. We haven’t decided what the consequences are going to be, but we are in complete agreement, and do believe you are the one who took the cookies. Do you have something to say?

Child – I do have something to say to you, but you’re going to have to wait a minute. (wipes chocolate from corners of mouth and clears throat) I’ll be right back. (brightly) I’ve done nothing wrong and I can prove it!

(Child runs out the door. Time passes and child returns with a friend.)

Child – (out of breath) I have decided to ask my friend to investigate this, and he has come to the conclusion that I did nothing wrong. So, I really think we need to move along here. I hope you feel better now, Mom and Dad. (smiles)

Friend – (nodding) She has done nothing wrong.

M&D – (tentatively, to friend) But….what about all the evidence? Did you see the crumb trail? It’s not like we didn’t check this out ourselves. And she said she was going to prove she didn’t do it!

Child – So, you’re saying you don’t trust me? (silence) What. Do you want to see what’s in my pockets? Is THAT what you’re saying? Because there are no cookies in there and I’ll show you to prove it. Do you want to know every single thing I told my friend to prove it? Is that what you want? That’s what you want, ISN’T IT?!

M&D – (looking at the floor) Yes. We would like to see that. You promised you’d show us, so go ahead and empty the pockets, and tell us what you said to your friend.

Child – This is rediculous. I can’t believe you won’t let this drop! You really don’t trust me….I can’t believe it. I mean I had my friend check this all out! You are just being unfair! Why do you hate me?!? (pause) You know what? Forget it. I’m NOT showing you what’s in my pocket because you are just being ridiculous! Dad, I know you’d agree with me if it wasn’t for Mom butting in! She just wants to ruin my life! We’ll I’m moving on. There are more important things going on in this house, like homework, and chores, and dinner!

(Child stomps out of room and slams door hard.)

Now, I bring your attention to today’s headline in the Anchorage Daily News:

Governor’s Office: Troopergate is Over and Palin Testimony Won’t Be Released to the Public

As far as Gov. Sarah Palin is concerned, Troopergate is behind her and she won’t provide a transcript of testimony she gave in an investigation into whether she violated ethics laws in firing her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. [snip]

“The people of Alaska — and of the nation — deserve to have a decision from the proper tribunal putting their minds at ease that suggestions of misconduct that have circulated on the Internet and in some media outlets are not true. I therefore am waiving the confidentiality that usually covers personnel board complaints,” Palin said in a statement released by her lawyer, Thomas Van Flein, on Sept. 2, just days after she was named John McCain’s running mate.

She gave her only testimony in the matter on Oct. 24 while on the vice presidential campaign trail. Van Flein said at the time that she wanted to release a transcript of her deposition. Reached Thursday evening, Van Flein said he hadn’t talked to Palin about releasing it since then. “That’s their call, I guess,” he said.

Palin is simply ready to move on, her deputy press secretary, Sharon Leighow, wrote in an e-mail exchange this week.

“This matter is closed. We see no public purpose in artificially prolonging this controversy.”

Sarah (child) who promised to release her sworn testimony (empty her pockets) which was given to Timothy Petumenos (friend), who performed the investigation of Sarah Palin, which she initiated herself, is now stomping out of the room.

Meanwhile, Mom & Dad (the Legislature) have been told that their work is meaningless, that they are impotent, that they are laughable. The kid just told Mom and Dad that they have no power. And unless we do something about it, Mom and Dad are about to say, “OK, Sweetie. You just go clean your room and we’ll forget all about it. I’m sorry if we upset you.”

These are the kinds of parents that raise spoiled children with a sense of entitlement, who do whatever they want until someone stops them. I don’t want that kid running my state.

This entire situation, of course, is dripping with irony, as GovernorPalin just returned from a trip stumping for Saxby Chambliss on the premise that if Democrats managed to get a 60-seat majority in the Senate, it would be a disaster because “we would have no checks and balances”. And she wouldn’t want HER kids growing up in a country like THAT. Indeed.

Well, Alaska Legislature, I don’t want my children growing up in a country with no checks and balances either. Of course the Palin administration sees no purpose in finishing this process. Because the truth will hurt. Her testimony will open a big can of worms that we can all look at, and pick through, and figure out what she might have said that contradicts the truth. There’s a word for that……oh, yes! “Perjury.” Last time I checked, perjury was a crime.

So, if she really really did nothing wrong, then why won’t she empty her pockets?





Palin is Back at Work.

5 12 2008

I looked at the Anchorage Daily News today, and my first thought was, “Hey, isn’t that the lady from TV?” Yes, indeed, Governor Sarah Palin is back in Alaska and it looks like she’s working!

After the national media descended on Alaska last summer, like ravens on a Wendy’s dumpster, many things were dragged out into the spotlight that otherwise might have lingered in Alaskan obscurity. I think of that bizarre phenomenon like a team of ten or twelve strangers coming into your house and emptying out your closets, taking inventory, and then writing about it.  You’d realize that maybe you had some strange stuff in there, that you had just gotten used to, and other stuff you didn’t even know was in there…but now that you look at it all in the light of day, through someone else’s eyes, you realize that maybe you should have been cleaning out your closets more often.  One of those things was the Palin administration’s record on health care for children and pregnant women.  The national media was not kind in its analysis of how Palin was caring for women and children, and many Alaskans had been furious about it for some time, and felt vindicated by the media analysis from outside the state.

Lawmakers have scrapped for years over Denali KidCare, which provides health insurance for lower income children and pregnant women. Palin last year opposed the push to increase coverage — even though the state was enjoying a huge surplus at the time from high oil prices. It’s one of dozens of policy calls that came under scrutiny as the governor became a national figure in the wake of her nomination this summer for vice president.

Palin, pressed on why she’s now changed her position, kept repeating that it is an opportunity for more children to be covered.

And, as usual, nobody is happy. Democrats think she hasn’t gone far enough, and Republicans think she’s gone too far. But Republicans will likely not stop it, and Democrats will take what they can get.

One of the good things that has come from Palin’s run for VP, is that Alaskans have been forced to look outside the bubble. Those who have felt that Palin’s policies and attitudes were not in alignment with their own, are now realizing that a lot of other Americans out there share their sentiments. It’s hard sometimes to remember that out there is a big wide world that isn’t Alaskan.

We were all expecting, with the price of oil dipping below $40/barrel yesterday, that the state budget was once again going to fall victim to Palin’s dreaded red pen. So this increase in an “entitlement program” in the face of plummeting oil prices, and the coming economic crunch, came as a bit of a surprise. I wonder how much her decisions in the next few years will be made in consideration of that world outside. She has plans for 2012, after all…

Palin will release the rest of her proposed state budget next week and said not to expect any significant cuts. She downplayed the danger falling oil prices pose to the state budget, saying Alaska is in a far better position than other states.

Palin claimed the state could still end up with a surplus even if oil averages $45 a barrel over the next several months.

David Teal, the state Legislature’s chief budget analyst, said that is possible for the current fiscal year that ends in June. But he has doubts. “Oil is falling pretty fast; we don’t know if we’re going to have a surplus or a deficit,” Teal said in an interview. Palin’s new spending plan, though, would start in the next fiscal year — when Alaska oil prices would have to average at least $20 a barrel more than now to balance the budget.

Welcome to the season of tight-rope walking, fiscal wrangling and hand-wringing as we try to pack all that stuff back in the closet.