Comments : 14 Comments »
Categories : Events & Rallies
If you’re not busy on Saturday night, or even if you are, make plans to attend the 2008 Muckraker’s Ball & Award Ceremony! No, alas, I had nothing to do with putting together this fabulous event, even though I’d love to take credit, and the name does seem fitting….
Each year Cook Inlet Keeper, an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Cook Inlet watershed and the life within it, chooses one deserving Alaskan who has spoken truth to power, and works to hold the government and corporations accountable for their actions. Isn’t that a nice concept? To this individual Cook Inlet Keeper bestows the honorary title of “Muckraker of the Year.” This year, the recipient is the amazing and incomparable Dr. Ricki Ott, “whose groundbreaking work has played a vital role shining a necessary light on the politicians, bureaucrats, and Exxon Corporation executives who have labored to cover up and ignore the devastation of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.”
Believe it or not, we are approaching the 20th anniversary of that event whose after effects are still being felt by residents of the Sound, fisherman, wildlife, and all who hold to that area as a symbol of wildness and beauty.
Dr. Ott will be signing copies of her new book, “Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.”
And who is up to emceeing this festive and auspicious event? None other than Air American radio personality and Alaska blogger, Shannyn Moore! It will no doubt be loads of fun, and promotes the good work of one of my most favorite organizations.
And to share a small bit of the spirit of Prince William Sound, the site of the Exxon disaster, I’ve added some pictures to the Flickr stream that you’ll find at the bottom of the sidebar. Enjoy.
Comments : 35 Comments »
Tags: Alaska environment, Alaska oil spill, Cook Inlet, Cook Inlet Keeper, Exxon, Exxon Valdez, Muckraker's Ball, Ricki Ott
Categories : Alaska, Environment, Events & Rallies
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.
Comments : 97 Comments »
Tags: Chambliss Cleland, Chambliss Martin, Chambliss Palin, Palin, Palin Georgia, Sarah Palin, Saxby Chambliss
Categories : Election 2008, Events & Rallies, John McCain, Republicans, Sarah Palin
Days in Alaska politics tend to focus on things like the Legislative Council, The Ethics Act, the endless and ongoing vote count in Alaska, the corruption and conviction of Alaska politicians and the latest comings and goings of our Governor… So when something like this lands softly in my inbox, it stops me in my tracks. This is part of an essay written by a self-described “Caucasian high school girl” named Waverli Rainey who lives in Palmer, Alaska. Palmer is the little town that sits right next to Wasilla.
Nov. 4 was a momentous moment for me. I went to the Wasilla Sports Complex for what was called a community event. We were told it was non-partisan because it’s a city building. However, once inside, it seemed as if it was a Republican-only event. Despite this, we stayed. Although I am too young to vote, I sat at the Sports Complex to see who would be the new president. I felt joy as I saw Sen. Barack Obama’s electoral points grow and grow. I clapped for and was impressed by Senator McCain’s graceful speech and his call for unity and support for the new president-elect.
I anxiously awaited what Present-elect Obama would say. Between speeches, a live band played music. However, when President-elect Obama began to speak, those running the event had to be asked to have the band stop so we could hear him speak. Eventually, they stopped playing, but we missed the beginning of the speech. Then half way through this historic speech, former Mayor Keller turned down the audio of President-elect Obama and put on a call from Governor Palin. I certainly understand the desire of Valley residents to hear from the governor, but if this was a non-partisan event, I feel that interrupting the next president was disrespectful. I also feel it did not represent the coming together of America that Senator McCain had only moments before asked his supporters to do.
The event was supposed to be for all parties, for all people, but it didn’t feel like it. I was shocked and offended. The event was supposed to be for supporters of Senators Obama and McCain and no one paid respect to President-elect Obama’s historic moment. Finally, another step toward complete equality and it seemed no one cared.
So the next day I borrowed my mother’s Obama shirt and walked into school wearing my pride on my chest. Finally the campaign was over and I was actively supporting our new president, even though I knew I would be vastly out numbered at school. I expected complaints and qualms about the new president, but I was not prepared for the flat-out racist remarks said openly in the halls and classrooms. I was appalled. While I sat at my desk trying to do my work I could hear my fellow classmates:
“I think we should kill Obama,” one said.
“I hope someone comes up and shoots him in the head,” another would say.
“I hate Obama … he’s black.”
On went the racist words for the full 80 minutes of that class. Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in – why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
All men are created equal. All men. That does not mean only if you’re the same color as me, think like me, talk like me, or worship who or how I do. It means regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or religion – we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists; being Arab-American simply means their family came from a certain part of the world. All Asian-Americans are not all like Kim Il-sung; Asian-Americans come from countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and they are not all the same. All African-Americans are not guilty of the genocide seen in places like Rwanda and Kenya.
If we were all guilty of the sins of our race, then what am I — a Caucasian high school sophomore from Palmer, Alaska — guilty of? Am I guilty of stealing land from their Native owners? Am I guilty of enslaving Africans? Am I guilty of the slaughter of entire races of people? Am I guilty of imprisoning Chinese and Japanese in American interment camps?
As a Causation high school girl, it’s easy to forget things like in America you wear a color — often called black, or white, or yellow, or red, or brown. We do not pick our name or race — we’re not chameleons who can change color at will, it’s how we’re born and raised. Being African-American, or Latino, or Asian-American, or Native American, or Alaska Native, or Arab-American is not a crime. Being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic is not a crime. Wearing a burqa on your head, or glasses on your face, or studying all views of the world and seeing the flaws of all governments is not a crime.
Sometimes I think of a place where all of our languages are mashed together, singing of our own multi-heritage pride; the pride of a truly unified America. A place where we can be proud of our accents because this is how American English sounds, too. A place where there is no more White Power! or Black Power! Where it’s American Power! Or better yet, where it’s Human Power! A place that proudly conjures images of colonists throwing tea into a harbor, Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, and immigrants working hard to achieve their American dream all at the same time. We are the story of our culture and colors and I’d like us all to take pride in it.
If ignorance and intolerance and bigotry is our past, then Waverli Rainey and those young people like her are surely our future. And we’re going to be OK.
To read the entire article in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, and leave a note of support for Waverli, click HERE.
Comments : 108 Comments »
Tags: Alaskans for Obama, Barack Obama, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Obama, Obama Alaska, Obama Mat-Su, Waverli Rainey
Categories : Barack Obama, Election 2008, Events & Rallies, John McCain, Republicans, Sarah Palin
It’s been a few weeks since Anchorage had a good rally.
This Saturday, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight citizens will take to the streets of Anchorage and Fairbanks to protest the passage of Proposition 8, California’s anti-same sex marriage amendment, and the lack of LGBT equal rights in Alaska.
Tens of thousands of LGBT people and their allies have taken to the streets to show outrage with the outcome of California’s Proposition 8. Prop 8 is a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage, taking away a right that was granted before the vote. Same-sex marriage bans also passed in Arizona and Florida. The outcome of these propositions has angered the national gay community and their supporters.
To date, more than 250,000 individuals have pledged to take part in a nationwide event to descend upon the City Halls, State Capitols and the Nation’s Capitol to make their voices heard. Signs, posters and numerous websites have already been created and the word is spreading quickly throughout the nation. Jointheimpact.wetpaint.com lists protest locations in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.
The message is simple and profound: Equal Rights for All.
The organizers of this nationwide event stress that these will be peaceful demonstrations. “Let’s move as one full unit, on the same day, and let’s show the United States of America that the LGBT community are also United States citizens equal in mind, body and spirit and deserving of full equality under the law.”
The Protest / Movement is scheduled to take place across the nation on Saturday, November 15th, 2008. Those interested in attending this historic event may find their local protest location by visiting: http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008; at 12 p.m. Noon
550 W 7th Ave. in front of the Atwood Building
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008; at 9:30 a.m.
800 Cushman Street, City Hall
Comments : 175 Comments »
Tags: Alaska prop 8, Anchorage LGBT, Fairbanks LGBT, Prop 8, Prop 8 Anchorage
Categories : Events & Rallies
Turns out there was just too much in that little 9 1/2 minute interview to cover in one day. This is installment #4 in picking apart Sarah Palin’s interview by the Daily News and KTUU in her Wasilla home on Sunday.
I found this particular question to be quite fascinating…probably because I was involved personally in the incidents discussed. I covered extensively the protest rallies in Anchorage that occured while Palin was on the campaign trail. I’ll recap, just to clarify:
1) Alaska Women Reject Palin – This rally happened at the Loussac Library and had about 1500 attendees, mostly women. Nobody had ever seen anything like this. Anchorage rallies usually manage to round up a couple dozen people…if they’re lucky. This was epic. There was a sea of homemade signs slamming her positions on reproductive rights, aerial wolf hunting, troopergate, global warming and croneyism. Anyone at that rally knew that something had awakened in the Alaskan people, that had resulted in something unexpected – an engaged citizenry.
2) Alaskans for Truth Rally – This rally happened at the Park Strip in downtown Anchorage, and had approximately 1800 attendees. The focus of this rally was to hold our Governor accountable for her actions, and to demand the immediate resignation of Alaska State Attorney General, Talis Colberg. Colberg advised state employees that they could disregard legislative subpoenas, and they did. Sarah Palin had promised to cooperate with the Legislative investigation, and she didn’t. The organizers were wondering if that first rally was an anomaly. They wondered if they could pull off a repeat. They did, and more. Speakers included local activists, progressive media, Republicans, representatives of the Native community and the Alaska State Troopers, and even Walt Monegan’s mom. The other purpose of this rally was to show support for former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan, independent investigator Stephen Branchflower, and State Senator Hollis French, all of whom had been mercilessly and unfairly slandered in the media by Palin and her mouthpiece, Meg Stapleton.
This rally got much more media coverage than the first one, and resulted in Mudflats having its busiest day ever, with more than 1/3 of a million hits in 24 hours. It was covered by the Anchorage Daily News, CBS, national blogs, local blogs and all local TV stations. The national coverage was not massive, but it was significant, and it’s doubtful that this went unnoticed by Palin, and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by her staff still in Alaska.
So, yes….I was curious to see how Palin would answer this question.
Q. Governor, were you aware that during the campaign there were some large protests in Anchorage against your candidacy, as well as your handling of the Walt Monegan issue? What do you think about that and what can you do to bring those people back?
Palin: To bring those people back in terms of…..and I wasn’t aware of the protests ’til like after they happened. I’d hear about it. A friend emailed me or somethin’ sayin’ there were placards out there saying whatever they’d say. (waves hand dismissively) I think that’s the nature of a a national level campaign also some you know they evidence of that the opposition to our ticket on the national level that that’s going to be expressed here on the local level too.
The thing that really got me was the hand wave. She brushed us away like a mosquito. An annoyance. Not worthy of even breaking out the flyswatter. I hope this will be Palin’s big mistake. She underestimates those who have defected. Her approval ratings went from over 90% when she was first elected, to about 60% now. When one third of your supporters turn, it can make life difficult, especially when that 30% is angry, riled up, and out to change things.
An interesting thing has happened during this election, especially for progressives. All of a sudden, we feel like we’ve made a difference. We feel like we’ve taken our country back from the brink of something that no longer looked like the America we learned about in grade school. We have ushered in to office, the first African American president, who is a northerner, an educated, literate man with progressive ideals, and we’ve done it $5 or $25, or $100 at a time. We’ve seen a grassroots movement that actually shaped not only the future of our nation, but the future of the world. It feels pretty good.
My hunch is that this feeling is not going to help the likes of Sarah Palin. Why? Because people feel empowered to make change. I don’t know if Alaskans will sit idly by while our Governor charges the state per diem to sleep in her house, or charges the state for her children’s one way tickets and fancy hotel rooms, or while political appointments are based on religious idealogy and/or presence in the Wasilla High School year book. I don’t know if we’ll be willing to swallow an administration that fires people and sullies their reputations because of a personal vendetta. I don’t know if Alaskans will forget the “other” Sarah Palin who incited cries of “Kill him!” when she said that our President Elect was “palling around with terrorists.” I don’t know that Alaskans were able to deposit their permanent fund checks, and their energy rebate checks this year, and square that with watching our Governor sling accusations of “socialism” like it was a four letter word, and “spreading the wealth” like it was a moral crime.
Who knows. Maybe I’m wrong. Alaskans have surprised me before….like when they voted en masse for a convicted felon.
But anyone who lives here, does not underestimate the power of a mosquito. There’s a joke that the mosquito is the Alaska State Bird. And when you get a whole lot of them agitated and looking for blood, you can definitely affect some kind of change in behavior. I’ve seen a giant bull moose standing in water up to its nostrils just to get relief from big black clouds of those pesky little creatures. So why not a state government?
Comments : 225 Comments »
Tags: Anti Palin rally, Palin Alaska reaction, Palin interview, Palin protest, Palin rally, Sarah Palin
Categories : Election 2008, Events & Rallies, Sarah Palin